October 23, 2019

After ISIS and the fighting groups

Ibrahim Gharaibeh

The scene after the military defeat of ISIS indicates that the incubating environment for violence and extremism is still present and effective, even if the fighting groups have lost control of most of the lands and regions.

There are many members and fighters of the groups who are looking for new shelter, places and opportunities, or in prisons and detention centers without a clear horizon or future, and the group’s ideological supporters and supporters or those who are in solidarity for their political or social cause still hold the ideas and positions that create these groups. They are also still living the political and social conditions that made them support and embrace these groups, and a difficult legal, humanitarian and social situation arose for the families of the fighters and their close social bases, as well as a legal, humanitarian and social situation for the victims of the kidnapped groups and the families of the dead and missing.

Will the existing scene continue as it is?

The continuation of the existing scene carries many dangers that squander victory and may turn it into defeat. Military and security work is going on efficiently, and there is no room for an increase in it. However, there are fears of a diminishing ability of countries and the coalition to continue due to the financial and moral costs of the confrontation, the combat and psychological fatigue in the confrontation, the possibility of states’ weakness and fragility and the decline in their financial capabilities. In addition, the increase in military and security spending reduces development spending in education, health, social care and public utilities.

Are the fighters finding new places and opportunities to operate and hide?

The ability of group members to continue to operate, hide or obtain safe havens depends on the weak security and military capabilities of states, and there are regions that provide these havens, such as countries experiencing conflicts or political and economic fragility, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Africa, Afghanistan, and perhaps pockets of use can be used As safe as remote mountainous and rugged areas that the authorities cannot control.

Groups can find safe lines of transmission and movement opened by states that have interests in continuing violence and employing it, such as parties to conflict in different countries and regions, or they can achieve new alliances and interests for states and political forces that can support violence and extremism.

Does violence and tension return or continue?

The yes or no answer depends on guessing how far countries and societies will be able to maintain their military and security victory

Justifications for answering yes

It is not possible to continue with security and military spending without economic growth that covers this spending.

The gap in spending between the security and development sectors leads to a deterioration in the level of human development and basic services.

Security policies lead to a weakening of the level of freedoms and an increase in the level of anger and protest

Continuing anger and protest due to the feeling of injustice, marginalization and exclusion

Continuing sectarian and ethnic conflicts and tensions

A feeling of marginalization and injustice gives groups social bases and supporters, Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, Arabs in African countries with a Negro majority such as Mali, Pashtuns in Afghanistan, Uygurs and Muslims in China, Rohingyas in Myanmar, Moro Muslims in the Philippines, ..

Military conflicts and wars, as is happening today in many countries

Justifications for answering ‘No’

National and international political will to confront violence and extremism.

The general social tendency towards peace and stability.

The fearful practices and experiences of violent and extremist groups

The general trend in countries to deprive groups of funding and employment opportunities

The experiences gained by countries and their devices in the confrontation

Will violence and extremism recede and fighting groups disappear?

There is reason to believe that the wave of religious extremism has completed fifty years after its rise, and that the economic and technological transformations that are changing the world will also change intellectual and philosophical trends. However, it is likely that the decline in violence will not be automatic and will depend on a system of successful social and economic initiatives, such as the social and economic confrontation with extremism; Military and security success in confronting extremism and violence cannot prevent the continuation of ideological support and the chances of continuing and increasing supporters and supporters, and thus opportunities for recruitment and mobilization in favor of extremist and combative groups.

Social confrontation depends on two systems:

1- Social and economic policies that target the dignity of citizens and improve their lives and opportunities for economic and social progress by increasing the efficiency of education, health, social care, work, training and financing small and medium enterprises that enable citizens to participate in economic and social participation.

2- Addressing the causes of hatred and mutual violence

Hate sources:

political domination


Economic disparities between ethnic groups

Religious and political principles and their flow between the top and the base, or through the narratives handed down between generations

Social isolation

Even when the politics of coexistence begins by removing the first set of incentives that encourage the continuation of violence, there remains the potential for continued hatred and hostility