ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print

Kamal Alam: How to keep Islamic State from spreading beyond Mesopotamia

 (placeholder image)
The shadow of a Shi'ite fighter flashing the 'V' sign is cast on a wall after Islamic State militants are ousted from Jurf al-Sakhar on Oct. 26.   © Reuters

The famed Pakistani poet Allama Iqbal once said that as long as Afghanistan burns Asia would burn, and that for the stability of Asia, the mountains of Afghanistan have to be peaceful. Today, as Syria and Iraq are engulfed by the Islamic State, one must not lose sight of the battle for Afghanistan that was fought in the 1980s. For it was this battle that gave birth to al-Qaida, the Algerian civil war, Hamas, and even the group proclaiming itself the Islamic State.

     Al-Qaida in Afghanistan opened a franchise in Iraq and Syria that eventually established a state in large swathes of Iraq and Syria. The recent attacks in Canada that killed two soldiers in different cities are growing evidence of a spread of an extremist ideology. Indeed, the biggest threat the Islamic State poses is not its physical form but its manifesto and its spreading influence among Muslim and non-Muslim communities far beyond Mesopotamia. The "lone wolf" attacks in Ottawa and Montreal could easily be repeated in Indonesia and the Philippines. Australia has already seen one such attack in the last few weeks.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more