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10 June 2015

The Islamic State Threat in Central Asia

The Islamic State Threat in Central Asia

Successful advancement of the group “Islamic State” and its growing popularity can potentially lead to the appearance of new flash points on the world map. It is expected that in the nearest future the Islamists’ movement will focus its activities on the territory of Uzbekistan and Turkmenia.

The experts try to analyse and predict the perspectives of the “Islamic State”. Most of the experts do not believe that the group will be eliminated by the US airstrikes. For example, the British analyst Mamun Al-Abbasi thinks that the monster begotten by the US shortfall policy and dictatorial regimes of the Arabian Gulf monarchies can hardly be completely neutralized. The reason being is that the members of the anti-Caliphate coalition seem to fight with the symptoms of a disease rather than its causes. In Mamun Al-Abbasi’s opinion, the reason for the “Islamic Sate” success is the political, social and economic setting in the Middle East countries. Infringement of rights, all-out corruption, common people persecution and poverty led them to the current bad condition.

Therefore, many political analysts declare that the virus of the “Islamic State” can be caught by other countries too. The countries abundant with natural resources are first on the list. So, Uzbekistan and Turkmenia are under serious threat.

The Islamic State Threat in Central Asia

Uzbekistan might become the first point for the “Islamic State” activities on the territory of the Middle Asia. The power of the country’s permanent president Islam Karimov does not seem to be unshakeable any more. Before the elections 2015 in Uzbekistan, the presidential race broke out within the power elite groups. The media blackout intentionally created by Karimov during his presidency, has eventually started to break out. Nowadays, some national and western mass media discuss the internal policy of Uzbekistan. Some experts claimed that a 75-year old Karimiv is not going to run as a candidate for president next year. This is due to the fact that before the elections 2015, the term of office has been reduced from 7 to 5 years. So the country risks to be politically destabilised as each of the power elite groups will try to make the most of the situation. It is quite possible that under the circumstances of the global poverty, unemployment and corruption that people have to face, they will spontaneously mobilize. They will ask for the much needed reforms. It is quite likely that the people will use Islamic slogans because the powers’ quite a specific attitude towards Islam has got a political rationale rather than the religious one. In some sense, it would be quite natural for the people to accept the ideas of the “Islamic State” organisation which will certainly try to penetrate into the country. It is also quite possible that the “Islamic State” will apply their armed forces. When talking to the religious leaders, Karimov pointed out that the country is under the threat of radical Islamists and the “Islamic State” can come close to the borders of Uzbekistan.

Further steps of the “Islamic state” will be directed towards Turkmenia which is rich in natural gas. Getting to the Caspian Sea, the “Islamic State” militants have a chance to reach the Caucasus. This pessimistic scenario is quite credible as the ideologists of “caliphatists” suggest people a very simplistic, but very well-known system of the world order. In its essence, it presents the deposition of the religious postulates with regard to paradise and a fair structure of the state with the criminal and absolutely incompatible with the genuine faith in God request to kill, steal, destroy and sow the seeds of discord on its way.

Coming back to Mamun Al-Abbasi’s point of view, it is worth pointing out that repression of the religious and political liberty under the conditions of global corruption and general social and political underdevelopment of the country only aggravates the existing problems. There appear more people who support the idea of military struggle with the existing order. This can serve as a fertile ground for various radicals. However, the “Islamic State” cannot be considered as a source of justice. Like Al-Qaeda, this project of the western countries aims at achieving their deceptive purposes in the Middle East and the Muslim world overall. It cannot bring any good to the world, except for crimes and suffering. The genuine justice between people, nations and states can be achieved only by means of the eternal values of the good, peace, tolerance and mutual respect. Islam maintains all these essential values, but not the political ideology of the so called “Islamic radicalism” inspired by the West.

Aidar Zinatullin