By Dr Subhash Kapila*
The suicide bomber attack on 22 May 2017 at a Manchester concert stands out analytically as an Islamic jihadi terrorist attack, once again manifesting that this scourge visiting liberal democratic societies is not going to fade away.
That this latest terrorist attack targeting Great Britain is a serious one and could be a part of a greater plot is evident that the British Government has ordered a TOP ALERT including calling out the British Army to back-up the local police
Before proceeding with the analysis of this dastardly suicide bombing I would like to SALUTE the younger British generation as they silently without panic of the trauma of the suicide bombing filed out of the Concert location. The optics was in the truest historical British tradition of stoic fortitude. There was no stampede and reminiscent of the British stoicism as they faced Nazi bombings of London for months during the Second World War.
The ISIS has claimed this terrorist attack as one of its strikes thereby qualifying it as an Islamic Jihadi terrorist attack. Details are available in plenty in the media and this Paper will not dwell on the same. Alternatively, one would like to focus on the major deductions that arise from this incessant diabolical suicide attacks on Free World democratic nations.
The most notable fact is that this suicide bomber was a Libyan Muslim young married man born in Great Britain. It vividly illustrates that liberal European societies and their more than liberal societal environments have failed to stem the radicalisation of Muslim youth residing therein. It also highlights that therefore liberal societies have now to consider abridging the constitutional and human rights of such fringe elements opting to operate outside the democratic framework.
It also highlights that liberal democratic societies cannot with political reach-out however generous, succeed in nudging radicalised segments abounding in their midst to assimilate themselves with the liberalist societies that gave them refuge and succour at the first instance even by distorting their own demographics.
Any major transformation of Muslim societies to shun Jihadi terrorism in the name of Islam can only be done by Muslim societies themselves as they are the most affected by the resultant demonization that invariably follows.
Contextually, the next notable fact that stands out is as to how and why the leading nations of the Islamic World, particularly the Sunni nations, have not been able to stem these radicalised fundamentalist impulses that spring, generate and flourish from their region. Was President Trump’s address to leading Muslim nations at Riyadh on the preceding week-end of the Manchester terrorist attack amounts to an address and appeal to the deaf?
If that be so, then does a case exist for another Global War on Terrorism? Would the United States care to lead this GWOT not as a politically expedient initiative but as a genuine effort to rid the Free World of Jihadi suicide attacks?
Before one reaches the above stage it is for consideration of the West European countries as most subjected to such attacks in recent times to unite their efforts and resources to combat this menace.
The major problem will be that as the space for ISIS sway progressively reduces in the Middle East, the ISIS terrorists are likely to spill into neighbouring regions, particularly Europe and India where fringe elements provide sleeper cells.
India has to be on heightened ALERT especially in case of Kashmir Valley, where the seditious separatists’ leaders have forgotten the havoc the spill-over from Afghanistan in terms of Taliban and Al Qaeda played on Kashmir Valley Muslim population. They could repeat a welcome to ISIS terrorists in their midst to achieve their narrow political ends.
Concluding, one would like to observe that while Great Britain and Western Europe grapples with this scourge of Jihadi terrorism, India should learn lessons and incorporate them in India’s counter-terrorism strategy.
*Dr Subhash Kapila is a graduate of the Royal British Army Staff College, Camberley and combines a rich experience of Indian Army, Cabinet Secretariat, and diplomatic assignments in Bhutan, Japan, South Korea and USA. Currently, Consultant International Relations & Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. He can be reached at [email protected]