The “spectacular brutality” of the Islamic State and raging conflict in the Levant is making the world less settled and more dangerous than it has been for decades.
A report by a globally-respected think tank has revealed that despite the number of individual conflicts raging across the world falling dramatically since 2008, conflict deaths have actually tripled in just seven years. The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Armed Conflict Survey, released today, tracks the changing nature and scope of war across the globe. Its findings should set alarm bells ringing for strategic planners in the Western world.
Of more immediate concern for European nations struggling to deal with the weight of refugees arriving on their doorsteps, this wave of people appears to be just the beginning. The increased brutality of conflicts means 2013 was a record year for refugees – it was the first time since 1945-6, at the end of the Second World War, that more than 50 million people were on the move because of conflict, and the trend is deepening with ever passing year.
The conflict in Syria, and the rise of ISIS, has much to do with the deteriorating world security picture. Speaking at today’s launch, IISS director and former MI6 director Nigel Inkster noted ISIS’s “spectacular brutality”, while a colleague said the past year has been a watershed moment in developing global jihad, changing it from comparatively primitive terrorism into a “state building exercise” which is “fundamentally new”.
Alia Brahimi of the IISS said of the Islamic State: “The aim of imposing vision of society radically changes the jihad enterprise”, and that the seizure this week of the regional capital Ramadi from the Iraqi government by ISIS forces shows “evidence of sophisticated tactics” that are “of high order” which were able to “overmatch Iraq’s forces”.
Remarkably, more people were killed in the Syria conflict in 2014 than in the Iraqi, South Sudanese, Mexican, and all Central American wars combined:
— IISS News (@IISS_org) May 20, 2015
Which in part has accounted for the shocking rise of conflict fatalities worldwide. Although the number of active wars being fought fell from 62 to 42 from 2008 to 2014, the number killed tripled, to 180,000 worldwide.
— IISS News (@IISS_org) May 20, 2015
The Islamic State has only been matched in its brutality in its apparent appeal to would-be Jihadists around the globe since it declared a new Caliphate, replacing the defunct Ottoman empire which collapsed at the end of the Great War, last year. Cadet branches of the Islamic State have emerged in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with bloodthirty Boko Haram in Nigeria even pledging allegiance to the new Caliphate.
The Islamic State has repeatedly made claims on territory in Europe, reclaiming areas lost since Christian civilisation pushed back against Muslim conquests which took lands in the Iberian Peninsula, Apennine Peninsula, the Balklands, and even laid siege to Vienna, now the capital of Austria. As reported by Breitbart this week, the Islamic State has been posting images of its supporters living undercover in Europe, holding up ISIS signs near prominent landmarks, including the Coliseum in Rome.
The propagandistic images came only days after European leaders were warned by a regional government in Libya that ISIS fighters were disguising themselves as refugees to sneak into Europe undetected in migrant boats. Last month, Breitbart London published an exclusive interview with retired Royal Navy Admiral and Ministry of Defence strategic planner Chris Parry, who warned ISIS would not be content with just sneaking fighters into Europe by boat, but would inevitably launch marine-style speedboat raids on Southern European coastal towns, as terrorists had in the Mumbai attack in 2008.
RAdm. Parry told Breitbart: “If you look at the maps put out by the Islamic State, it is pretty clear what they want back. Italy, Spain. They want back what they once had. Islam is a very territorial religion.
“If there isn’t the political will or military ability to face down threats off the North African littoral, be it migration, criminality, or terrorism, then we will get progressive erosion. We will get raids on coasts, we will get yachts intercepted at sea, we will get merchant ships subject to terrorist, pirate, or criminal attack.
“The Western world needs to have more self belief in its own values, it has to hold its nerve, and we have to rediscover a lot of self-reliance”.