Islamic State impact will go beyond terrorism

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Islamic State group's indirect effects will reach further than Syria and Iraq

Impacts

  • Ankara's ambivalence towards ISG is complicating its delicate relations with its Kurds and could derail the 'peace process' with the PKK.
  • Baghdad's decentralisation of security powers to local forces to combat ISG will weaken central government in the long term.
  • ISG in Iraq and Syria is distracting international attention from al-Qaida in Yemen -- a group that explicitly espouses attacking the West.
  • In Libya, ISG activity invites Egyptian interference, which deepens rifts between factions and imperils reconciliation talks.
  • ISG advances bolster the US alliance with the Gulf, Jordan and Egypt, reducing Western pressure to reform.

Conclusion

The rise of the Islamic State group (ISG) in Iraq and Syria has intensified the threat to the internal security of states across the region. The primary risk is of 'blowback', which includes a higher likelihood of terrorist attacks either directed or inspired by ISG. Fears of such incidents are driving internal security crackdowns, which are also being used to target government opponents in some countries, such as Egypt, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Beyond security, ISG's territorial control in Syria and Iraq is eclipsing second order repercussions on the region's internal politics and international relations.

References

see GULF STATES: Sectarianism raises Iraq blowback risk - February 23, 2015

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