Islamic jihadism and the issue of human resource

April 11, 2021
A new threat to Iran’s security environment
April 19, 2021

Islamic jihadism and the issue of human resource


M uslim jihadist forces in modern times are referred to as Muslim militant groups in the region of West Asia, North and East Africa, which are mainly Sunnies. The first major manifestation of these groups and the widespread and organized recruitment of individuals into them can be seen during the occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union.

Al-Qaeda is one of the most famous jihadist groups in Afghanistan that was formed in those days. Al-Qaeda means the base derived from the name of the organization's first military base, the "base for jihad." It is said that this organization was initially called the "International Jihad Front against the Jews and the Crusaders." After the assassination of Osama bin Laden and during the leadership of Ayman Zawahiri, the organization merged with the Islamic Jihad group in Egypt, and its international image was strengthened, although according to disgruntled (mostly Iraqi) jihadists, the main cadre of the organization from the beginning mainly belonged to the Saudi or Persian gulf Arabs. This Injustice in the granting of command and managerial positions, as the most important internal factor, went hand in hand with some external factors, and at some moments, formed splits from the main organization. The first major branch was the Taliban at the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The internal factor for splitting was non-native high-level management and command. The first external factor was the US betrayal by dealing with the Soviet Union over its safe withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the suspected assassination of some high-ranking Mujahideen leaders, and the second factor was the widespread involvement of the Pakistani military intelligence service, with Saudi Arabia to building proxy forces. With the support, training, and guidance of Pakistani ISI, Saudi Arabian Wahhabi religious resources, and teachers, a generation of extremist Afghans with Wahhabi and Hanafi roots were trained in several thousand Pakistani Islamic schools, later known as the Taliban. In later decades, although Taliban activity was largely confined to Afghanistan's borders, other jihadist groups throughout the region began to form and expand in areas where:

• secular dictatorial regimes were ruling.
• large Sunni communities that promote Takfiri and extremist ideas were disseminating.
• Poverty And economic injustice were rampant.

This time, even the regions from South to Southeast Asia were added to the area of influence of these groups, while al-Qaeda was still the most notorious name with its broader organization and numerous operations, especially on 9/11.

In a general sense, the thoughts and ideologies of the above groups can be divided into two general groups:

• More popular groups such as al-Qaeda are mainly followers of Salafism with a tendency to Muslim Brotherhood factions, among which Sayyid Qutb's thoughts are popular. These groups show relatively few takfiri and anti-Shiite, and until recently, despite receiving some support from some governments, they tried to show themselves as independent and without government affiliation.

• More concentrated Wahhabi-Takfiri groups. These groups emerged mainly, after the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, with the split of the first-gen jihadist groups. One of the most important leaders and fathers of these groups is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Takfirism, fierce enmity with the Shiites and independence claims are the hallmarks of these groups. but Contrary to their claims they always have been manipulation by governments, especially Saudi Arabia, which also led to an anti-Muslim Brotherhood approach, One of the most famous of these groups is ISIS.

The fact is that an in-depth analysis of the civilizational roots of this capacity must be explained. The efforts of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the West, or even Iran to increase or decrease this capacity or to direct it are superficial and are due to the very existence of such a capacity in the region. Perhaps the most important background of this capacity is the feeling of inferiority caused by the frustration of Islamic civilization with the Judeo-Christian civilization, which has continued since the defeat of Andalusia and has never been restored except for a short time during the Ottoman Empire.

As mentioned earlier, these groups continued to grow wherever the opportunity arose, especially in the Middle East, until the Arab Spring and the fall of the secular Arab dictatorial regimes started.

The civil war in Syria as a new playground provided for them to attend and play with the illusion of major role-playing. In the beginning, with the role of the rulers of the Persian Gulf Arab states, especially Qatar, the flood of jihadist forces was sucked from the jihadist capacity from all over the Islamic world and pumped into Syria. This movement created a third force alongside the two primary forces (1. The Assad government 2. The Sunni body separated from the army and other dissatisfied Syrian marginalized races). Due to the vastness of the conquered lands at the beginning of the Al-Nusra Front and the significant financial income of this jihad (including foreign aid and income from the occupation), there were constant disputes between commanders and field forces. This time the Iraqi jihadi body separated from the organization and formed a new organization with foreigners under the slogan of "racial equality" and the granting of command and high-level ranks to foreigners. At the beginning of the separation, ISIS began to advance in areas with domestic revenues because it was not directly connected to the foreign budget, and in the early years had the least lines of conflict with the government. Most of ISIS's efforts, with the right strategy in the early years, focused on cultural activity and propaganda, as well as the creation of sources of income (advancing in the oil regions), and proved to be very successful due to the attractiveness of the main idea. Of course, after stabilizing the position of ISIS, it started relations with regional and trans-regional governments at different levels but always tried to maintain its independence pose and distance from them.

Iraq at the time was a place of conflict between Wahhabi extremist and terrorist groups such as Jama'at al-Tawhid. The inefficiency of the central government also annexed the country to the ranks of extremist jihadist groups, and large areas of it came under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for years. The important point about using the capacity of Sunni Islamic jihadis was that in the story of the Arab Spring, after the overthrow of several dictators in different countries, Saudi Arabia and the sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf started to organizational influence in these groups. First, because they were trying to keep this fire away from the throne of their dictatorships, second to expand their influence and fulfill their political goals and their Western allies' goals, including securing Israel. The movement formed initially to confronting the occupation and liberation of Islamic lands has become a means of securing the occupiers and eliminating the few governments such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq that continue to hold their resistance position.

From recruit overflow to recruit shortage:

During the long years of the Syrian war, the world witnessed the migration of jihadist forces from various countries in the region, especially from Iraq and North Africa. To these groups were added some experienced Chechen jihadist forces, who, similarly, had fallen prey to the poisonous thinking of Wahhabism and takfir. During the war, new groups were often formed by the merging or splitting of jihadist groups.

The West showed very cleverly in playing with the Sunni governments in the region to exploit the jihadist capacity of Sunni Islam, but the Iranian resistance along with allied groups (mostly Iraqi, Afghan, and rarely Pakistani) in managing the war and strengthening the central government in Syria made this clever plan to meet its drawbacks: the jihadist capacity produced per year is small, and the pumped forces in Syria were the result of years of accumulation of this capacity!

Eventually, with the support of Iran and Russia, the field narrowed for these groups. They lost more lands daily and more warriors were killed every day. With the defeat of ISIS and the withdrawal of other jihadist groups from the lands they previously occupied, the combat power of these groups became less and less, which this time led to the forced unification of these groups and the formation of fewer groups.

Finally, with the expansionism and profiteering of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, some areas in northern Syria and the Idlib region remain the last stronghold of the last major jihadist groups in the Middle East.

Finally, in addition to the deep frustration among the forces themselves due to the massive defeat of the Syrian project, the fate of the major jihadist groups in the region was as follows:

• The Wahhabi Takfiri forces, backed by Saudi Arabia and the sheikhdoms, have almost disappeared, leaving only small groups scattered in the outskirts. This caused Al-Saud's failure in subsequent adventures in Yemen, where the country was deprived of jihadi manpower and experience, and despite having complete financial and military superiority, especially in the air couldn't advance against a small group like Ansarullah with limited personnel and facilities. Yemen's tribal structure would allow Saudi Arabia an unparalleled maneuver in the presence of a high-quality foreign jihadist force. Even ISIS, which declared its existence in Yemen through Saudi propaganda, was soon shut down.

• Only a limited number remained in the Idlib region in Syria. These groups come closer to Erdogan's government because of their common interest in beliefs. But that was not the end of the remnants of the Syrian jihadists. After all its financial, political, and military investments in Syria failed, Turkey tried to use its remaining jihadist capital to gamble in other lands to expand its influence and power. The most important of these was Turkish military intervention in Libya and the Nagorno-Karabakh region. In both areas, Turkey provided extensive military support in the divisions of artillery, air cover, defense systems, and electronic warfare. Although these measures played an effective role in weakening the opposing sides in both conflicts, ultimately the outcome of the war must be determined on the ground. Where the risk of manpower casualties is extremely high and the political and domestic costs of military intervention abroad greatly increase. It was here that Erdogan began transferring remnants of jihadist forces to the battlefields, first in Libya and then in Nagorno-Karabakh. These jihadist forces, who had years of war experience and received good air support from Turkey, were able to achieve good victories and taste the hard defeats to the forces of Khalifa Haftar in Libya And Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. But in addition to the victories, another fact is that the cost of these actions was exorbitant. The few remaining experienced jihadi fighters are rapidly dwindling with each use of foreign military intervention as mercenaries. Hundreds of them are killed in any conflict or lose their combat capability due to injuries, and there is no end to these wars in foreign lands, yesterday in Libya, today in Nagorno-Karabakh and tomorrow, Maybe in Ethiopia ...

It is not far off when there is nothing left from the human reserves of this group of jihadi forces. From the point of view of a Shiite government like Iran, at first glance, this could be good news. What could provide more security for the Shiite minority than the elimination of the fighters who consider the Shiites as infidels and consider their blood lawful! The bitter truth, however, is that these people were the combat reserves of the Islamic world, reserves that were not initially were formed for killing Muslims and fratricides, not for burning and destroying Islamic lands, but for liberating Islamic lands like Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan. reserves that could strengthen the Muslim front against foreign occupiers. A capacity that could have been used to fight Israel and liberate Palestinian lands, including Holy Quds, rather than secure the occupying regime in Jerusalem by grounding Israel's enemies and ensuring the US and Israeli security interests in the region. But unfortunately, this opportunity, like many other historical opportunities, has been lost once and for all, and it is unlikely that such a capacity will be produced for many years.


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