Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 30
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Although more than a week has passed since the beginning of air strikes on the positions of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL or ISIS) militants and other radical extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, one can say with confidence that the allies have not achieved any significant progress in the fight against terrorists.
Over 12 air strikes were made to stop the sale of oil products, which are the source of the terrorists' income, at the Kuniko refinery in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, controlled by the IS.
The bombing of oil refineries, controlled by the IS, was meant to be a blow to the source of the terrorists' income. However, examining the activity and structure of the IS, one can conclude that the source of the terrorists' income is not soley illegal trade in oil products.
On the contrary, while revenues obtained from the illegal trade in oil products can be partially controlled, this can not be said about other types of criminal activity, in particular, bank robberies in the city of Mosul, which greatly increased the income of the terrorists.
Along with the illegal trade in oil products and armed robbery, the terrorist organizations have a variety of other sources of income. One of them is "kharaj" collected from the civilian population in the form of tax.
What is the "power of the promised caliphate"?
After the IS militants captured a number of towns and settlements of Iraq, many people assumed that the Shiite population of the country would be the terrorists' target.
After this threat appeared, Iraqi theologian Ayatullah al-Uzma Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani and Iranian theologian Ayatollah Nasir Makarim Shirazi issued a fatwa on jihad for Shiite Muslims of Iraq. The process of forming the army of volunteers "Millionia" among Shiite Muslims began after this fatwa.
This volunteer army consisting of Shiites doesn't operate independently but as part of the regular army, according to the Iraqi sources. Note, Millioniyyah has chosen the defensive strategy.
But after a while, it became clear that this 'Islamic State' targets not only Shiite Muslims, but also Sunni Muslims in Iraq and the opposition consisting of Sunnis in Syria.
The population in the territories controlled by the 'Islamic State' has not resisted the terrorists. And, this is not because they have sympathy for this terrorist organization, but rather they have been intimidated with public execution for disobedience regardless of sex and age.
At the same time, the powerful intelligence network and the combat experience of the 'Islamic State' also plays an important role in this issue.
The local residents have come to regard the 'Islamic State' as a cruel and undefeatable organization. Many experts believe that the bloody-thirsty strategy of the 'Islamic State' has made the Iraqi army leave many cities of the country without resistance.
And when we analyze the structure of the 'Islamic State', we can say that this terrorist organization is a bigger threat to the region than Al Qaeda.
The 'Islamic State' now controls certain territories, in particular, one third of Syrian and a quarter of Iraqi territories.
At the same time, the radical Islamists that pose a threat to the entire Middle East are not located in the relatively distant Afghanistan. The countries of the region, especially those next door to Syria and Iraq, are most immediately in danger.
Alliance of former enemies or what scares Ankara?
The fact that the terrorists under the black flags which seek to create "the Caliphate promised by Allah" are now more firmly established in the region, and indicate major changes taking place in the countries of the Arab East.
Experts believe that the military operations will not lead to a complete victory over the terrorists at least because the IS organization is a part of the plan to destroy the Arab East.
Most tragic in this situation is the fact that the "Islamic state" was not taken more seriously earlier. Even President Barack Obama in his speech admitted that the country's intelligence services were aware of the activities of the organization, but did not consider it a serious threat.
Nevertheless, the United States, for whatever reason, did everything possible to prevent this "Islamic State", or "the promised caliphate", from reaching Erbil.
Existence of a threat of "the promised caliphate" also contributed to the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are considered "the two sides of one coin" in the region. Even if this convergence did not manifest itself in Iraq and Syria, it became evident in Lebanon.
In order to protect its border with Syria, Saudi Arabia has allocated $1 billion to the Lebanese Army, in spite of the heavy influenced of Hezbollah.
The Kurdish factor makes Turkey more cautious, although Ankara is conducting military operations against the IS.
This has also led to a reassessment of activities by the Peshmerge (paramilitary Special Forces) under the control of the Kurdish administration, representatives of which are now being trained in Germany. In fact, the European Union called the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party the best organization fighting against the IS.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of the Trend Arab News Service