The roots of Daesh and threats it poses to region

Although before 2012, Daesh was not considered an anti-Shia and anti-Iran group and this issue had no place in their propaganda, by and by, Saudi Arabia infiltrated this group using its traditional tribal diplomacy and took Daesh in a direction that the group gradually made anti-Shia propaganda, including by describing Shia Muslims as disbelievers, part of its official propaganda campaign.

This shows that such groups are one way or another affected by policies and tendencies of powers, but one must think twice before claiming that these groups are mere mercenaries of Saudi Arabia or the United States and are exactly carrying out scenarios cooked up by them.

At the same time, as has been correctly pointed out, using terrorism and such groups as a tool is similar to using the Frankenstein monster, because they may at first serve the interests of countries that use them, but the end of this story is never clear. There is also doubt about whether global powers, especially the United States, are able to get rid of these groups in an easy way, but a more important question is whether world powers believe that taking this step is worth the price?

The important point for the United States up to the present time has been the fact that Daesh has so far posed no serious and direct threat to national security of America, and it may even benefit Washington one way or another. This means that up to the present time, American officials have not produced even a single document to prove that Daesh poses a direct threat to the United States and their documents do not usually talk about the need to annihilate Daesh, but mostly focus on reducing the force and weakening of Daesh.

This is why it seems that as long as Daesh or similar groups are taking no steps against the vital interests of these powers, there will be no serious political will to launch an effective fight against them and this issue was even predicted when the United States started its anti-Daesh coalition in 2014. In order to have a long-term framework to fight the root causes of violence in the region, all countries must reach the common understanding that any degree of economic cooperation, poverty alleviation and narrowing down of class divides would be able to reduce violence in the long run. For example, studies conducted on the root causes behind the emergence of Takfiri and jihadist groups show that they have their intellectual roots among Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis who live in Najd region as well as among fundamentalist groups in Egypt. Both these societies are suffering from extreme poverty and class differences.

It is very interesting that despite its huge wealth, a large portion of Saudi Arabia’s population is living below the poverty line. On the other hand, the current state of Egypt from the viewpoint of economic poverty needs no further explanation. With regard to political violence, the more importance is attached to ballot boxes as well as participation of various ethnic and religious groups in political power and the likes of that, the more it would be possible to uproot violence in violence-stricken societies.

For example, Lebanon has a good instance of broad-based political structure in its constitution and a similar potential exists in Iraq’s constitution. Therefore, inattention to democracy, ballot boxes and people’s participation in political affairs is the second root cause of people’s inclination toward violence and extremism.

The third root cause of violence is identity-based violence. Some of those countries, which do not want to stand accountable before their people with regard to the first two reason of violence, try to fan the flames of identity-based violence by magnifying differences between Shias and Sunnis and between Arabs and non-Arabs. If regional countries distance themselves from these issues and work on a common identity in the region, they would be able to uproot the structural violence that is currently prevalent across the Middle East.

The last reason for violence is what Galtung calls structural imperialism and presence of foreign forces in the region. As said before, one of the most important motivations behind violence and terrorism in the region has been presence of foreign forces in the region and establishment of regional arrangements in which regional security will be taken care of by regional countries can play a very effective role in reducing tendency toward violence.

Outsourcing security in which some countries have, unfortunately, put foreign powers in charge of their security, in addition to other reasons, are all roots of escalating violence in the region and reliance of such countries on intra-regional security arrangements can change these conditions. Within this framework, a long-term plan is needed to fight violence.

By Iran Review