The ISIS threat – a Saudi perspective
By: Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Source: Arab News
Those who do not read what leaders of Daesh (aka ISIS) write and those who do not watch the group’s videos may not realize that it has many enemies, foremost among them is Saudi Arabia.
Daesh has a long list of adversaries worldwide, such as the United States and most recently earned foe is Russia, as well as European governments, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan. Daesh is also fighting both the Syrian regime and the opposition.
For two years now, the organization has actively spread fierce propaganda against Saudi Arabia and its rulers. There are many Saudi fighters in Daesh’s ranks, and the government worries that they may one day sneak back into the country from Iraq and Syria to implement promote Daesh agenda.
The same applies to the terrorist Al-Nusra Front, which presents itself as an opposition group that is only hostile to the Syrian regime. It is an extension of Al-Qaeda and has previously professed loyalty to it. Although it fights Daesh, their aims are similar.
Al-Nusra Front fighters have previously threatened Saudi Arabia. This is why we doubt the aims of regional governments that support it, because its biggest aim is to attack Saudi Arabia, which for terrorists represents the Promised Land and the path toward legitimacy.
Terrorists consider Syria a base to gather, train and launch operations, as they did previously with Afghanistan. Initially, Al-Nusra Front and Daesh deceived people with the idea that they were formed to fight unjust sectarian regimes in Iraq and Syria, thus exploiting people’s grievances. Al-Qaeda did the same in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, crimes committed in Syria and Iraq by Al-Nusra Front and Daesh have quickly turned Arab and Muslim public opinion against them, unlike Al-Qaeda, which enjoyed media and religious propaganda in its defense.
Those who sympathize with Al-Nusra Front or Daesh do not dare express that sympathy in Saudi Arabia. In some cases, worshippers have driven out preachers who dared commend Daesh. People can now distinguish between nationalist groups that rebel against injustice and terrorist groups that facilitate chaos.
Daesh in Iraq has worn several masks. It claimed to be formed from tribal groups then it portrayed itself as aligned with Baathists and later claimed it was a mixed army under An-Naqshbandiyyah leadership. Daesh is the biggest and most dangerous power in Iraq — many people became aware of this after it occupied Mosul and a number of cities in Al-Anbar province. Today, it not only threatens Baghdad, but also Saudi Arabia’s borders.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MuslimVillage.com.