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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 6-Oct-2014
6-Oct-14 World View -- ISIS influence spreads in Asia, as Pakistan Taliban pledges support

Web Log - October, 2014

6-Oct-14 World View -- ISIS influence spreads in Asia, as Pakistan Taliban pledges support

Biden continues apologizing, this time to UAE

This morning's key headlines from

Hong Kong protests may be losing strength

Hong Kong protests - live shot at 10 am Monday Hong Kong time (BBC)
Hong Kong protests - live shot at 10 am Monday Hong Kong time (BBC)

Only a few hundred exhausted pro-democracy protesters were in the streets on Monday morning, the deadline for the Hong Kong government's ultimatum to clear the streets. The protesters have withdrawn from protest sites that formerly were blocking access to government buildings, schools and businesses, and the government has so far not ordered the police to clear the remaining protest sites.

The government strategy is to stand back and hope that the protests fizzle, and to avoid clashes and violence which might motivate thousands of protesters to return. Quartz

ISIS influence spreads in Asia, as Pakistan Taliban pledges support

The leaders of the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban - TTP), an umbrella group comprising some 100 jihadi groups in Pakistan, has decided to switch sides and support the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL) instead the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) in Syria. According to TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah:

"We consider the fighters in Iraq and Syria as our brothers and are proud of their victories. We are their part and parcel in times of joy and sadness.

The Muslim nation has great expectations from the fighters in Iraq and Syria. We are with you in the hour of trial and will support you in all possible ways."

However, TTP itself has splintered, and a number of its member groups have split away, so it seems unlikely that TTP will be able to provide any help to ISIS. Conversely, ISIS has little organizational influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan or India, where the Taliban operate.

The more profound effect is that it continues the increasing generational change among the world's jihadists. Today's young jihadists, from the Caucasus to North Africa to Pakistan to Indonesia, are more drawn to ISIS because it appears to be winning, led by the youthful Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. This is in contrast to al-Qaeda’s ageing leaders, most of whom are holed up in the Pakistan - Afghan tribal belt to save themselves from drones, and who are more and more seen as tired, ineffective and uninspiring.

According to Fawaz Gerges, of the London School of Economics:

"The Islamic State's appeal extends beyond the Middle East. Their strategy is anchored on the simple premise that it is a winning horse. It has promised the entire ummah — the Muslim community — that it could deliver victory and salvation."

Thus, there have been reports of jihadi support for ISIS from Australia, India and Pakistan. China is also concerned about the influence of ISIS in its disaffected Muslim Uighur community, according to an article in the Beijing mouthpiece Global Times:

"They not only want to get training in terrorist techniques, but also to expand their connections in international terrorist organizations through actual combat to gain support for more terrorist activities in China."

Even if the TTP cannot provide any real support for ISIS, the TTP announcement is a worrisome development for Pakistan. The subject of sending Pakistani fighters to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS is a touchy subject for Pakistan's government in Islamabad, because Pakistani authorities have repeatedly denied that any such movements have ever taken place. However, Pakistan jihadi groups themselves have claimed that they've sent thousands of fighters to Syria and Iraq. India Times and The News (Pakistan) and The Diplomat and USA Today

Biden continues apologizing, this time to UAE

As we reported yesterday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had to apologize on Saturday to Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for saying in a speech on Thursday that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had funded and armed the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL) and contributed to its rise. Biden was trying to pin the blame on Mideast states in order to defuse the scathing criticism from the Obama administration's former defense secretary, Leon Panetta, whose new book blames administration policy for the rise of the ISIS.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for United Arab Emirates (UAE) hit back at Biden on Saturday:

"[These statements] are far from the truth, especially with relation to the UAE’s role in confronting extremism and terrorism and its clear and advanced position in recognizing the dangers, including the danger of financing terrorism and terrorist groups. ...

[Biden had] ignored the steps and effective measures [taken by the UAE], which comes as part of a more comprehensive political stand against this plague."

So on Sunday Biden call General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and apologized to the UAE for any implications in his recent statements that were understood to mean that UAE has backed the growth of some of the terrorist organizations in the region. Biden added that the United States appreciates the UAE’s historic role in combating extremism and terrorism as well as its advanced position in this respect.

And so, right now, Leon Panetta's statements blaming the U.S. administration for the rise of ISIS still stand. Khaleej Times (Dubai) and The National (Abu Dhabi)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Oct-14 World View -- ISIS influence spreads in Asia, as Pakistan Taliban pledges support thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Oct-2014) Permanent Link
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