By Daniella Peled.
This article was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net, and it is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) poses a greater threat to Western security than al-Qaeda did in its day, according to an IWPR briefing this week.
Visiting London from Baghdad, IWPR Iraq chief of party Ammar al-Shahbander told the July 22 gathering that ISIS was an independent entity that operated in diverse ways and with different alliances in Syria and Iraq.
Speaking at the briefing via video link, IWPR Syria programme coordinator, Z.E., gave a snapshot of life in Aleppo and her work supporting citizen activism there. (Her name is not given here for security reasons.)
“Many people think that ISIS is not a threat to the West,” said al-Shahbander. “I completely disagree. ISIS is a much greater threat than al-Qaeda – it is the number one magnet for jihadis internationally.”
Not only has ISIS created its own de facto state, but it has a much more open recruitment policy than al-Qaeda.
“This is a very dangerous mix of people with top fighting capability and no ethics. ISIS is capable of violence beyond anything seen by al-Qaeda,” he continued, adding that the international mix of fighters made it all the more likely that they would bring extremist ideas back to their own countries.
At the same time, Shahbander argues that ISIS’s days are numbered in Iraq, as the range of Sunni groups that have struck up a temporary alliance with it and operate under its flag will ultimately turn on it – and they have significantly more military clout than it has.