SSI: Of Mousetraps and Cheese

Arunima Pande of Pakistan Press International writes on the proceedings of the first day of the Special Summit on ISIS.

The first session of the Special Summit on Isis kicked off with discussions about the funding of the Islamic State. Talks of oil flowed like water – the delegates repeatedly suggested bombing oil fields of the ISIS to reduce its power. Damage to oil fields would only be effective to a certain extent, for the ISIS has oil fields extending over great distances. Moreover, moving forward with this plan would impact the lives of those who should be the first priority – the civilians. Deficiency of such an essential commodity could violate the human rights of the people. A large chunk of the money also comes from the ‘donations’ received from foreign businessmen. This sparked off controversy between the Middle-eastern nations. The esteemed delegates whiled away precious time by engaging in the blame game, when they could have been arriving at effective solutions.

The web has been one of the major sources for the spread of the ISIS. Through videos of beheadings, images of hostages, global campaigns and hashtags; ISIS has made sure it doesn’t go unnoticed. But social media usage by ISIS is not limited to propaganda alone. It has precise recruitment programs that have successfully been amassing fighters from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Delegates emphasized that the ISIS appealed to specific groups – alienated Muslims, powerless refugees and people that live in extreme poverty. The promises of safety and acceptance amongst the ‘brotherhood’ of the caliphate draw large numbers of people to join the ISIS. Contrary to general opinion of some delegates, the ideologies of Islam are distorted by the ISIS to suit its needs. Quoting the delegate of Colombia, “The ISIS is using religion as a mousetrap and jihad as cheese.” Delegates suggested stricter verification processes, use of hacking and spreading awareness as ways of curbing the online impact of ISIS.

A crisis update snapped the delegates back to reality. Calais Jungle, a refugee camp in France, was said to have housed a very high valued target. The French Police, ill-equipped and under informed, were victims to an ambush carried out by fifteen ISIS militants. Six of the policemen were killed, with four missing. Desperate, France has turned to the SSI for advice. Will the nations of this summit be able to look past their own interests and at the big picture? Or will they, having great internal divides, succumb to the plans of the ISIS? The SSI must choose wisely.

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