Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Battles to Purge | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It is very important and useful to follow the military operations taking place in Syria and Iraq under the cover of removing terrorist groups from territories that they had occupied. This scenario always leads to the displacement of the indigenous population of cities to other places, and as soon as this happens they are replaced by new and different populations.

Terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi have practically become real operational tools for redrawing borders and distributing the population across areas according to ethnic and sectarian affiliations. Today, “completely terrorist” militias have no legitimacy, and they mix religious emblems and flags with weapons. However, these same groups have become the new tool of implementation in the Middle East and what is happening in Syria and Iraq is a great warning.

The biggest catastrophe is the belief held by many people that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are Sunnis. At the other end of the spectrum, there is also a group of people that is no less stupid, backward and ignorant, and they believe that Hezbollah and Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi are Shiite. Therein lies the dilemma; they are just terrorist groups and gangs of outlaws, and every state that has an atom of dignity and honour should deal with them on this basis. Therefore, they can never be accepted as part of any legitimate expulsion under any circumstances.

The purging of ISIS from Mosul and of Al-Nusra Front from Aleppo with the help of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi and Hezbollah fighters is a suspicious and bizarre matter, and it is more likely to be a series of trial balloons to apply new borders. This time however, it is on a “pure” basis and there will be racial, ethnic and religious homogeneity. This model was applied on a smaller and faster scale through events witnessed by the former Yugoslavia, where bloody and violent confrontations led to the complete division of the country and it was turned into a group of “heterogeneous” states within it; the Islamic, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox states. The world accepted this.

It seems that we are in front of a bigger scene relating to a state that has prepared for its borders to extend from Aleppo to Mosul and another country that includes the rest of Syria. This solution, which came in the name of peace and security, is occurring in the name of fighting terrorism. However, the most important goal is the homogeneous purging of different groups which previously made Iraq and Syria a source of civilisation and practiced total coexistence until groups like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, ISIS and Al-Nusra Front appeared. They are all the same and what is happening in Iraq and Syria is a purge in the name of liberation.