As the Islamic State continues on the rage of no border features encapsulating the international community on ever intensifying terror a comprehensive approach is indeed required to eliminate the threat. The policies and strategies should be constructed within the compound of the historical, social, religious, ethnical, and ethical backgrounds. By approaching this conflict through the lenses of Socialist Constructivism, will enable one to see the hostilities raised by ISIS through the creation of the other, the power politics necessary to maintain their state and ultimately the need for regional allies and enemies alike to band together. By creating the so-called Islamic State they have strived to level the differentiation of “we” against “them”. “Them” being anyone they have classified as an infidel.
The “we” against “them” strategies that have been instigated provocatively has won the hearts of many lone individuals who felt society has left them behind. Peering through constructivist fundamentals on the importance of identity it can be understood that in this havocs of instability it is much easier to manipulate identities to gain an allegiance to blame your actions to the one you are pledging to. This cemented a crucial feature in the foundation of the group and there is no reason why their own ideology cannot be used against them to bring their downfall. A flexible structural constructivist strategy based on condemnation can entail accommodating the same feeling of “them” against “us”. “Them” being the so-called IS and “us” being not only the followers of the Muslim religion but the solidarity of the rest of the world. Of course, the “us” have to start at the grassroots level, being the Sunni religion sect the terrorist group affiliates themselves with particularly as well as other sects of the religion overall in a solidifying manner. Unless handled so, the power vacuum the governments have been unable to fill might certainly generate another mayhem.
The strategy should be backed fully with the promotion of the idea of norms integrated in a constructivist manner, meaning mainly inclusive from the smallest scope of nations present up to the upper hand key actors in the case as well as the many exiled victims. As victims raming around with a vendetta of grudge, famous end results of the politically emanated carcass would end up being an extremist terrorist as have the so-called IS; everyone convinced that they are the once fighting the right Jihad. In their case to attain ethical, religious, territorial or other ambitions.
However, it should be noted that the integration strategies have to comply not within the scope of religion but on another less sensitive advocations. Thus, integration of all the parties concerned to be component of the solution should be heavily underlined to avoid any possible splinters from emerging or an extremist vendetta seeker materializing. On the other hand, the in-building of a strong adherence of a norm to remind the society of this aggressive modern world-system has never been more important than nowadays. As the powers which have been indulged in fighting the group have been mostly nation-states in it for their own interests as well as many splinters of the good and the evil axis political makers tangoing to cultivate the best harvest of a havoc created; have infinitely failed to put an end or even slow down the ugly circus. Advocating the perspectives of constructivism, the so-called Islamic State as bearing the fundamentals of a terriorist group is a social construct. Therefore, indulging the realistic stubborn hardcore means of power and security endeavors bounce back to havoc.
The swift seizure of territories of the group is the end result of the failure to uphold the awareness of the people to put a stop to what should have long being recognized for what it really was. Instead of considering it as something irritating and wrong when they started off with takfir; people should have come together to stop it. The lack to do so basically distinguished for many reasons, nevertheless, was something that could have been done if the norms of the modern society had stayed intact to override the havoc of instability emanating from a power vacuum. And now more than ever citizens of these countries, specifically, should reclaim the norms in a way they would be forever imprinted within. As Viotti and Kaupi have noted, social structure infused with ideational factors to include norms, rules, and law,1 is the unrivaled choice which can bring not only peace and prosperity to the region but also to the international order. The failure to do so has definitely enabled the group to reform and re-dedicate their efforts time and again. Therefore, as the constructivists have advised the awakening of norms and values society should imprint with has to endorse the features of permanence.
This done so would exponentially multiply the guts of the fighters holding on the forefronts without even the need for backup. The morale of war as history has shown us is not in the volume but in the value the fighter stands on. The same ideology the group has implied when they took over the city of Raqqa. Though highly trained military capabilities are undeniable it would not make a difference as a means to an end.
A bombardment of one group would lead to a fragmentation of a more aggressive splintered shell. As seen with the results of Mujahideen to evolve to Taliban, to Al-Qaeda, to Daesh, to Al-Nusrah and so on, an endless list of mayhem. The group has efficiently indulged in the manipulation of not only hard power but also soft power machinations to strengthen their proclaimed Caliphate. Taking their span of existence into account, they have been able to sustain for more than a decade on the bases of humble beginnings. The carefully planned beginning has been the key to their explosive uprise, only taking small portions of the villages surrounding them to prevent a massive retaliating attention before they have cemented their bases. Playing their smart power indulgencies to gather effective audiences or rather puppet recruits enough to stand on their feet no matter how many mistargeted bombs chipped them away.
That has been the main reason why the arrogant powers have not succeeded to root the terrorist groups out successfully. And these have played to their favors as it provided them with an influx of volunteers across the world not only from the sect they adhere to but of many wannabes looking for an adventurous chance to belong. Copy pasting the above-stated tactic of copping from the grassroots level is a peculiar approach to ensure solidarity. However, it should be noted that to demonize the group the proper solution should come from within to formulate groups from the grassroots level, not from some foreign administration. The ultimate successful strategy would be a constructive regional power which can effectively turn local opinion against them to leadingly gather to make an army to save what is left of their sets of social values. Only when the foreign troops, who are not even familiar with the norms and values of the culture of the region let alone the language, are replaced with the region’s volunteers from the countries under siege supported with a strong unanimity of their neighbors can a significant change arise.
Or else what awaits the future of these countries under attack in particular and the region, in general, would be something even more devasting to what the end of Qaddafi in Libya and the aftermath of Saddam in Iraq has rendered. By making strong local coalitions as a grassroots foundation to fight they can be made to roll back to a corner to finally be swallowed into a vacuum without any splinter leftovers. What is required for the solidarity of the people of those countries to get rid of these chains of militancy insurgencies that have haunted the region specifically from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan onwards is the breeding and conformity of a sustainable nation-state. These upheld with inclusive constructive policies definitely can sharpen the consciousness of citizens to unify against a common enemy.
As history has proved time and again nationalism’s might flexed did definitely drive out even more heinous enemies. Granted, reviving whatever is left of the solidarity of a nation-state within those countries may be classified as unsubstantial, nevertheless, it is what is needed to end this ordeal. Moreover, it definitely bears features of a translation period to rebuild the countries back to their feet. Thus, the extra-systemic structural manifestations of constructivism although undeniably necessitate unfathomable dedication the fruits certainly aspire peaceful prosperity and development.
1 Paul R. Viotti and Mark V. Kauppi, International Relations Theory, 5th ed. (Boston: Longman, ©2012), p. 278.