Unrest all around

August 23, 2014 - 1:25:26 am

Insurgencies are largely fuelled by governments ignoring domestic realities and promoting narrow geopolitical interests.

Insurgencies are sprouting up across the world like never before. As major nations grapple with myriad problems, groups with bigoted ideologies have taken advantage of deeply entrenched mindsets to form militias that revel in destruction and bloodshed. Several regions of the world have been walloped by militant groups threatening governments with their egregious moves.

No one could have imagined an extremist group spouting so much venom and hatred in the name of religion that another one like Al Qaeda — behind the September 11 attacks in the US — is dwarfed by it. So extremist is the Islamic State that even Al Qaeda has distanced itself from it. The group has killed hundreds of minorities, including Yazidis, Shias and Christians. By forming a so-called caliphate, IS jihadis have thrown a challenge to Western powers.

Boko Haram is another group that has promoted an abhorrent ideology, using faith to promote vested interests. The group’s most notorious act was the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in the northeast of Nigeria. The girls are still missing and the global outcry after their abduction has been drowned over time by the intensity of the Gaza conflict and the unrest in Iraq.

The biggest threat that extremist groups pose does not come from their activities or ideologies. What is most disconcerting is that legitimate governments are looking helplessly as such organisations march on in their bid to weaken structures of authority. The Taliban has been doing so for over a decade with its militias challenging the might of governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Other countries in Africa, like Chad, Egypt, Sudan and Mauritania, haven’t been spared by terror groups, either. Yemen is another Middle East nation in the throes of a thriving insurgency. Al Qaeda militants and Houthi rebels are giving a tough time to security forces in the insurgency-hit country.

In the Philippines, Islamist rebels have been a constant source of worry for the government. The northwest of China has been hit by the Uighur insurgency. A number of stabbings and a car bomb attack in the capital Beijing have been attributed to the Uighurs. 

India has been fighting a separatist movement in Kashmir for decades now. The northeast of the country has also seen several insurgent groups allied along tribal affinities launch attacks for self-determination. 

The North Caucasus has seen increasing radicalisation with Islamist militants battling a Kremlin-backed power structure. 

Terrorist structures become powerful when nations ignore domestic and ethnic concerns for geopolitical gains. Promoting divisive forces for short-term narrow national interests fuels insurgency and militancy. It would take years, if not decades, and a concerted effort by the international community led by big powers to weaken existing militant groups. Whether nations will join hands for this is hard to guess•