“Jund al-Khilafah”…ISIS begins to spread into the Maghreb, El Badil (Egypt), 4 October 2014

The Middle East region has recently witnessed a number of drastic changes related to extremist terrorist groups. Last week, an organisation called “Jund al-Khilafah” (Soldiers of the Caliphate) emerged in Algeria and carried out the execution of a French hostage after announcing their allegiance to “Daesh” (the Arabic equivalent to the acronym ISIS). This event raised fears about the spread of this organisation in North Africa, especially since other groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIS have appeared recently in the Maghreb.

“Jund al-Khilfah”…ISIS begins to spread into the MaghrebA number of experts have spoken about the dangers of these organisations and the growth of their influence in the region. Ambassador Sayyid Abu Zayd, assistant to the former Foreign Minister, said that the organisation known as Jund al-Khilafah, which recently appeared in Algeria, its not far from the organisations that claim to raise the banner of religion and use it as a cover to carry out their crimes. He stressed that Islam is not a part of these organisations, which analyse it as they please and forbid what they want.

Abu Zayd explained to El Badil that the emergence of groups pledging allegiance to ISIS in Algeria is not surprising, for in every Middle Eastern and African country, these armed groups rely on provoking the feelings of youths by luring them and convincing them that they are following the true belief in order for them to join them in carrying out terrorist attacks and bombings without thinking, with the aim of achieving specific goals, whether political or spreading chaos and instability in the region. He stressed that there are children in these groups who have been trained at the hands of terrorists from a young age to carry out major attacks and bombings in the region.

The former diplomat stressed that the Egyptian view is correct, in that the world is confronting international terrorism, not represented only in certain organisations like ISIS, but rather we are confronting terrorism that threatens the entire world and will sooner or later reach the borders of countries that are fighting it, and from there regional and international areas.

Abu Zayd added that the emergence of videos showing the execution of European hostages by ISIS is meant to terrorise citizens of countries participating in the regional coalition so that pressure can be placed on governments to distance themselves from participation, as well as maintain fear for the safety of other imprisoned citizens. However, the opposite has happened, the tables have been turned, and the cautious states are participating and gathering together to carry out attacks and pre-emptive strikes on this organisation, fearful of the spread and threat of their interests.

For his part, Ambassador Raouf Sa’ad, former Egyptian ambassador to Russia and assistant to the former Foreign Minister, said that the multiplicity of terrorist organisations in the region and some of them pledging allegiance of ISIS demonstrations has a positive and a negative side. He stressed that the negative side is a result of the fluid condition and chaos which have prevailed in the Arab world. This atmosphere was ideal for extremist groups, and we see a new wave of non-traditional terrorism.

Raouf Sa’ad added that the danger in this case is that we cans see that the nature of groups that join these terrorism groups are not the traditional groups that joined them previously, like the poor and the like. Instead they are from the middle-class, distinguished by their social participation in social networking. Additionally, these organisations finance themselves by controlling oil fields and resource-rich areas. Subsequently there are highly trained and well-financed terrorist organisations.

In the same context Ambassador Rakha Ahmed Hassan, former assistant to the Foreign Minister, said that the emergence of other organisations in the region like Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria is not surprising. By looking at the origins of all of these terrorist organisations, including ISIS in Iraq, we notice that they were a branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq but for reasons related to political or ideological differences an organisation rebels against us with a new name, but under one set of principles and with one approach represented in al-Qaeda’s takfiri ideology. Rakha stressed that regional changes effects the naming of these organisations.

Rakha added that what is important is not the names, so much as our recognising the goals that they hope to achieve, and the heinous crimes they commit on a daily basis against civilians and non-combatants. He stressed that in every country, particularly in the Middle East region, you will find a group that supports this radical ideology, citing the so-called “Beit al-Maqdis” group in Egypt, “Ansar al-Shari’a” in Libya, “Jabhat al-Nusra” in Lebanon and Syria. He stressed that these groups were established under the noses of the American administration in order to spread chaos and instability in the region.


Translated by Kevin Moore.

Original article available here.

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