OTANI: Ideology best way to fight global terror
It is not a secret that terrorism has taken a huge global perspective and terror attacks are set to take a turn for the worst on a global scale, with the manner in which countries, especially the West, handle the vice set to determine the angle it will take going forth.
It took the second terror attack in Paris, France last week by militants affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) that left 129 people dead, and the Mali capital luxury hotel siege and killing of 27 people by terrorists linked to Al Qaeda for the world to realize just how serious the global terror threat could get.
Kenya has for years borne the brunt of allowing refugees from Somalia through its porous borders unchecked, with many being able to move to the capital Nairobi from their designated camps in Kakuma and Dadaab.
And now France and the larger Europe is being forced to grapple with the negative effects of allowing large numbers of refugees from Syria and Iraq where jihadist group ISIS has made huge gains.
Kenya has herself been attacked by Al Shabaab on various occasions, with the recent major ones being an attack on Garissa University College that left at least 147 people dead in April this year and the Westgate Shopping Mall terror siege in September 2013 that left at least 67 people dead.
The new global terror threat is posed by IS, which is headed by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and whose precise size is yet unclear, but is believed to have recruited thousands of fighters, with many thought to be from the US and Europe.
So how are Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda and its perceived new rival Islamic State supposed to be eradicated?
How easy is it? Especially with their mass recruitment drives being conducted in unstable states taking advantage of the ongoing conflicts in Somalia, Assad led-Syria and Iraq that have resulted in mass exodus of immigrants seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, and in the case of IS, in Europe and US further compounding issues.
France and Russia have been leading major airstrikes in Syria against IS militants who seem to be getting bolder by the day and executing deadly attacks abroad and threatening more lethal strikes as they claim more territory.
How the terror group animals will metamorphose in the next three to five years and whether they will survive and recruit more fighters will rely more on the ideologies that will be used to fight them rather than the brutal force being employed currently by foreign forces.
Locally, recruitment of youths into Al Shabaab has been successful largely due to perceived and real government harassment and extra-judicial executions of Muslim terror suspects, not to mention local Somalis and those seeking refuge from Somalia playing into the hands of propaganda from the militants that Kenya is targeting all Muslims and Islam.
This has resulted in dejected youths especially Muslims from the coast region being religiously radicalised to join the group believing they are fighting for a good cause and with promises of financial gain and heavenly rewards in the afterlife.
It is time countries led by the US, UK and Russia initiated a serious sustained believable ideological war to counter the perceived global anti-Islam propaganda that has been sowed among Muslim youth.
The miscommunication has enabled Shabaab, Qaeda and IS to lure fighters into their cells, including those who have been born and raised in Western countries and were believed to have adopted Western thinking and lifestyles.
Airstrikes alone and strong talk against the global terrorists by major global powers only plays into the ideological propaganda being waged against modern civilisation and Christianity by religious zealots with a ‘cause’ hiding behind Islam and winning more souls willing to die for the “cause”, with the new kid on the block seeking to form a caliphate under Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
If not fought ideologically and believably, then the global terror war backers may be in for a long tedious bloody haul, with casualty numbers set to hit huge levels on the international stage.