Young Muslims trained in arms and light ammunition are sought after pawns in the markets of conflict and turmoil. Wearing the masks of Islam, they are out to create mayhem and massacre. In most cases, theses forces are out to challenge the State and its well-structured armies and police forces. In old times, such confrontations were a part of the game between rulers and their opponents.
However, in modern times, the rules of the game have changed. Generally, the confrontations take place according to rules of war, as well as according to the international law approved by international community. But in this case, the engagement and employment of pawns is either overlooked or ignored. This strategic game was being played in pre-colonial and even colonial era as a state craft.
The rulers who used to occupy vast lands had to control and manage these lands. In this regard, this army of pawns was a convenient mechanism to manage these so-called estates and lands.
Another angle to this business was that experts, and well-known warriors and fighters would seek opportunities in the palaces of great kings and monarchs to lead luxurious lives. The names of such valiant warriors are recorded in history. The recording of names of such heroes in the history has been the common practice of Muslim history.
Muslim countries as large empires had the practice of employing both types of fighting forces; viz, regular armed forces of the State, and loose fighting armies not on the regular pay scale of the state. Such traditions are found in other religious denominations and States. But in case of Muslim States and societies, a distinctive feature has been added which is reflected in incorporation of Islamic principles in such ventures. Thus, the concept of ‘Jihad’ is the mainstay of wars being fought by or on behalf of Muslim countries.
It is amazing to note that this concept is being invoked even among Muslim countries in their conflicts between each other. In modern times, it is clear that the entire world is divided in blocks and each block is guided and goaded by its economic and strategic interests. It is clear that religious appearances are taking a back seat gradually. The prominent Muslim States are at loggerheads with other Muslim States and it is easy to discern the long-term objective each state is pursuing in these confrontations.
Muslim States in turmoil have two dimensions and each one has its own circumference. The external dimension is quite clear and its direction and objective may be clearly gauged. In the same manner, the internal dimension maybe comprehended with its direction and objective. Generally, its objectives are internal. The cases of Iraq and Libya provide illustrations to the point. Peace has proved to be illusory in both the places. Violence is continuing and rules the day.
The merciless scenes of violence shame humanity in this century. It is equally pertinent to learn that the violence in these places has taken sectarian form and it has become so complicated that this web cannot be untangled.
The sectarian tangles are not confined to Middle East alone, South Asia is equally involved in such conflicts. Pakistan, Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Afghanistan and even Bangladesh have been suffering such conflicts.
In Pakistan, armed militias enter mosques and indiscriminately fire upon and kill those offering Namaz (Islamic Prayer or Salaat). It is a common feature of Karachi city. In Gilgit, buses carrying Shia pilgrims arriving from visiting shrines from Iraq are ambushed and massacred ostensibly by Pathan zealots. In fact, in South Asia, private armies have established their bases, an initiative which was established by the U.S to drive out Russians from Afghanistan. This militia generally known as the Taliban has been active even after the exit of Russia from Afghanistan. Taliban ruled Afghanistan for several years. The present dialogue going on in Doha between Taliban and Afghanistan is not moving on smooth lines. The basic reason is the quest of introduction of Islamic System in Afghanistan.
The ongoing violence in parts of Afghanistan indicate that with the availability of trained foot soldiers, it will continue to be a semi war zone for a long time. The new generation which is trained in science and technology is highly ambitious to march with the modern world. Hence, it seems to be contentious that this generation and Taliban ideology will go hand in hand together.
The Islamic foot soldiers may not easily be isolated. It needs a global will to censure the powers on the ground to stop them from using these soldiers for operations in different fields and from varied directions. The role of Houthis and guidance provided by Syria and Turkey needs to be brought to the center stage of global security.