Israeli troops near border with Egypt's Sinai desert on June 18, 2012.
The suspicious and strange operation that took place in Sinai Desert in Egypt and close to the Israeli border is an instance of what some Middle Eastern countries are going to experience.
Several individuals attacked the Egyptian border post at a time when the Muslim soldiers were breaking their Ramadan fast. Without incurring any losses, the group cut off the heads of 16 Egyptian soldiers and then retreated to the Israeli border with two vehicles belonging to the border post. The Israelis say one of the two vehicles exploded on its own and the other one was targeted by a helicopter and destroyed.
Who were the group that authorized cutting off the heads of the Egyptian soldiers at the time of breaking fast as a prelude to staging an attack against Israel? Taking in such a contradiction would be difficult and even impossible for an observer who is somewhat familiar with Middle East troubles. It would be natural that in such a case the mind flies towards a conspiratorial characterization of the story.
Certainly, there are similar instances in the history of other nations. In Islam, at the time of the fourth Caliph after the passing of the holy Prophet (SA), a political group emerged that was greatly obsessed with its ideology and held no reservations about killing ordinary Muslims in order to achieve their goals and attacking government forces. This group came to be referred to as Kharijites (those who had stepped out of the faith); fanatic individuals who were brainwashed and did not see anything other than killing their enemies; they were willing to risk their lives to advance their aims; individuals that had no ideological depth and would be easily influenced by others.
were gradually destroyed and their remnants turned from a political structure to an ideological one. Signs of them can still be seen in the North African and the Persian Gulf country of Oman.
In the contemporary Middle East history, the Kharijite
ideology being repeated, such as the Al-Takfir
, a group in Egypt that broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood. Even al-Qaeda is a repetition of the Kharijite
political thinking: Sanctifying aims and simplifying the scarification of ordinary people. This type of political-operational thinking can presently be observed in Iraq and Nigeria. Can we soon locate other territories where such a way of thinking and operating has become a norm?
This mindset is not held by a single group in a specific country, rather it is spreading like a virus. Recently, a British photographer was abducted in Syria and was held captive for long by a group, some members of which spoke English with a South Londoner accent. John Contly wrote in a Sunday Times
, “There were 30 individuals. Twelve of them spoke English, nine of whom had a British accent.”
Where did this group come from? It is unlikely that they acted alone or individually. There are organizations that locate and gather them and then dispatch them to Syria. One can simply guess that such organizations are linked to international security establishments. There were similar experiences in the past in places such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Yemen, and Somalia. Syria, however, is different from the rest.
The main difference would be the common language, history and identity. Most of those that fought the Soviet army in Afghanistan held Arab identities. The majority of these fighters later participated in wars in Bosnia and Chechnya. This group is referred to as the “Afghan Arabs.” They may even dress like the Afghans and demonstrate in Tunisia.
This is not the first time that the West and al-Qaeda have teamed up. Prior to the establishment of al-Qaeda, Bin Laden and his followers assumed leadership of a portion of the US plan to bring the Russian army in Afghanistan to its knees. West-installed governments such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have never returned to their light following the liberation of Afghanistan.
Today, other Western governments, such as Turkey and some Arab regimes are helping with the secret deployment of forces and weapons to Syria. Their main objective is to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria. They say that the US is trying to preserve the establishment in Syria so in case Bashar Assad steps down, the Iraq experience and the destruction of the governmental and security agencies would not reoccur. The CIA is monitoring the borders across Iraq, Jordan and Turkey to make sure that weapons would not reach the Islamist groups in Syria. Abdulbaset Sieda, the Chairman of the Syrian National Council, has also said the story of rooting out the Baath Party will not be repeated in Syria as it did in Iraq.
Nevertheless, it is not likely that such guarantees would be so reassuring and practical. The genie that was released in Syria will take the country to the verge of disintegration. No one can return such genie back to its bottle. If Bin Laden’s death and the repeated blows brought against al-Qaeda in Iraq and Yemen have weakened the organization, Syria would be an appropriate place for the regrouping of its forces who seeks its natural ally among the Salafis.