Has the Third World War already begun? The question may raise the hackles of security experts. That would be because our minds are tuned to the clash of organised armies on a massive scale in a global conflict. The world has since then changed. Even the most powerful countries realise that a full-scale war could be very expensive. A small country like North Korea is today able to threaten the US with a nuclear attack.
The Third War is different. It is an unconventional and irregular war with radical Islam launching attacks across the world. One can see these attacks in Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. All the great powers stand threatened. The US has not had another major attack since 9/11, but the possibility always remains. Russia is having continuing problems in Chechnya. China is not able to suppress violent dissent in Xinjiang.
The radical Islam is represented by the ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Tehreek-e-Taliban and their affiliates in different countries. These are targeting Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus—in fact, all ‘non-believers’, including sections of Muslims considered apostates.
Europe particularly appears to be in deep trouble, thanks to the liberal policies of its governments which allowed immigrants to settle down within their frontiers out of humanitarian considerations. The Charlie Hebdo attack was waiting to happen. Islamic books calling for jihad and the killing of non-Muslims were being openly sold in the supermarkets of France. An Ipsos survey found that 66 per cent of the French people believed that there were too many foreigners in the country and 59 per cent believed that the “immigrants do not try hard enough to integrate”. The poll also brought out that according to 63 per cent of the French people, Islam is “not compatible with French values”. The Muslim population in France is estimated to be about 10 per cent of the country’s total population of 66 million. In real terms, France has the largest Muslim population in Europe.
In Germany, there is mounting public backlash over what people perceive as government’s indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. A grassroots movement called Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) has attracted quite a following in the country. The group’s declared objective is to preserve Germany’s Judeo-Christian culture and values, though government dubs it as a neo-Nazi group. In some German cities, thousands of citizens have demonstrated against the growing “Islamization” of the country.
British PM David Cameron has described “multi-culturalism” a failure and government plans to restrict the migration from poorer European Union countries. According to the MI5 Chief, Andrew Parker, the country could face a Paris-like terrorist strike in the near future. He went on to say that a “mass casualty attack to cause large scale loss of life” was imminent against transport networks and landmarks, and there was real possibility of an attempt to blow up a passenger jet.
In the Netherlands, according to a report titled, The Transformation of Jihadism in the Netherlands, the jihadist movement is experiencing sudden and explosive growth. It is becoming increasingly open and provocative, both online and in the streets. “The increasing momentum of Dutch jihadism poses an unprecedented threat to the democratic legal order of the Netherlands.”
Belgium has a radical Salafist group known as Sharia4Belgium. It was founded in 2010 with the objective of enforcing Sharia law in Belgium. The group courted controversy in September 2011 when it announced the opening of Sharia law court in Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium. In 2012, when some of its leaders were arrested, the society announced its dissolution. According to Belgian authorities, however, Sharia4Belgium continues to operate underground.
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the Islamic State which outlines the group’s five year plan for expanding its Caliphate into Europe.
India—God forbid, but if and when that happens—will face a double whammy. The forces of radical Islam would have full support of non-state actors Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hiz-bul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Muhammed which are patronised by Pakistan as also the indigenous outfits like the Indian Mujahideen. Are we prepared or even preparing for that contingency? Tragically, the answer is not in the affirmative.
Singh is a former DGP of Assam and an expert on Naxal affairs