Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Al Qaeda 3.0 Spawned by the West

Jihadists from the group "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" have captured the city of Fallujah in Iraq, where they proclaimed "Islamic emirate." This case is not extraordinary as Islamists are attacking on all fronts. The terrorist network is taking new forms. Analysts consider the al-Qaeda a regular army rather than a group.  

Radical Islam today is attacking in all parts of the Middle East and Africa - in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Mali, Libya, Algeria and Egypt. The broad front of jihadi attack was opened in Syria, where the most dangerous program of radical Sunni Islamists is being implemented to create a new Arab Caliphate. Judging by the recent events, the activity is spreading to neighboring Iraq where Sunnis live in the south.

The armed group "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" engaged in war actions in Syria on January 7th occupied the strategic city of Fallujah located some 60 kilometers from Baghdad. Prime Minister al-Maliki, representing the country's Shiite community, accused the rebels of the attempts to separate the Al-Anbar Governorate of Iraq. He placed the responsibility for the ongoing attacks on "a country of the Persian Gulf" (read - Saudi Arabia). Al-Maliki introduced army troops in Fallujah backed by tanks and helicopters, and on Thursday announced that the city was freed from terrorists.

However, Western analysts, for instance, Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution, are already talking about a new version of Al-Qaeda - "Al Qaeda 3.0." According to Bruce Riedel's estimate, a terrorist network in the Middle East is expanding, and its radical ideology is experiencing an upswing. However, according to the analyst, the U.S. and Europe are getting increasingly further from the solution. For example, Secretary of State John Kerry said he would send additional military equipment to Baghdad (Hellfire missiles and drones), but this was the extent of the assistance.

"We are doing everything we can," John Kerry said and strongly refuted the possibility of sending new American troops to Iraq saying that this was their (the Iraqis) fight. However, Riedel believes that the U.S. must assume the responsibility for the fight against Islamic extremism because it was largely generated by their policies to encourage the "Arab Spring."

"Iraq is facing a civil war based on ethnic and religious principles, and this threat has never been off the agenda," Sergey Demidenko, an expert of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis commented for Pravda.Ru. "The main differences are between Sunnis and Shiites. A conflict between them started when a terrorist attack in the Golden Mosque in Samara in February of 2006 had turned into a civil war, but the Americans then managed to tone it down. After the withdrawal of U.S. troops a conflict flared up. Sunni (southern) regions of Iraq are a mix. There are local extremists, extremists from abroad, there is tribal elite, there are former Baathists (Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) of Saddam Hussein - Ed.), former Iraqi military. This pot is boiling, and on the background of the general regional instability the influence of radical Islam is growing, which was a result of the "Arab Spring," these problems are now gaining momentum."

According to the expert, it is no accident that Islamists have entrenched in Fallujah. "It was the center of the so-called "triangle of death" where the Americans suffered the most brutal loss. It has always been considered a hotbed of extremism." However, the expert does not believe that there is a great enhancement and structuring of the Al-Qaeda. "I would not say that this is some kind of new global al-Qaeda.  

This general trend is strengthening of radical Islamism. This is a large, powerful terrorist international that does not have a single center and is united by the support and assistance of the Gulf States. They can somehow influence their politics, diplomacy. But to say that there is one Al-Qaeda would be to simplify the problem, and this is done to appease western laymen. This is an illusion when they say that a strike on al-Qaeda would solve the problem. It won't," said the expert. According to him (and Riedel agrees), "it is a great misfortune generated by the hands of the West." "The West supported the Islamists in Libya, did not condemn Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Syria, and now we have what we have. The problem is important not only for the Middle East, but also for the countries of the Maghreb and Europe. In Russia, as the events in Volgograd evidence, it has not lost its relevance," concluded Sergey Demidenko.

It was the U.S. who invaded Iraq in 2003, overthrew Saddam Hussein's Sunni state and held the so-called free elections. These "free elections" have violated the state management structure that existed for centuries. Under this system since the days of the Ottoman Empire Sunni elite were in power in Iraq both under the monarchy and republic. As a result of the elections Shia became majority in the parliament and government. Prime Minister al -Maliki is also a Shiite.

The experience of Lebanon where a very fragile political system in the Sunni majority ensures the presence in the government of Shiites and Christians (Maronite) shows the importance of not breaking the tradition. Syria had an equally stable situation where Alawites had been in power since independence, and multi-religious and multi-ethnic Syria was generally a tolerant country. A secular state was formed in Egypt. Its "democratic" break encouraged by the West led to chaos and terrorist acts. After the last terrorist attack in Mansoura on Christmas Day Sunni group "Muslim Brotherhood" has been declared a terrorist group. Bruce Riedel believes that in 2014 Egypt will be a country where an increase in attacks can be expected.

Obviously, encouraging the overthrow of legitimate governments and releasing a radicalism genie out of the bottle, the West now has washed its hands so each country will have to solve the problem on their own. In Egypt, the military have abruptly stopped Islamization, staged a coup and overthrew the legitimate president Mursi. In Angola a tough law of registration of Muslim communities was adopted, virtually eliminating the possibility of functioning mosques. Russia has good results in the areas with a high level of operational and intelligence work. However, we must be prepared for the fact that jihad will change once the U.S. troops leave Afghanistan.

Lyuba Lul'ko