Peacebuilding through economic development – Countering the IS/ISIS Narrative

UK-US-Flag IS/ISIS and its ilk promise a better society for current and future generations through its narrative of change   under its Caliphate. Individuals at the sharp end are desperate for social change and will buy into whosoever promises a better future state for them and their family. President Obama and PM Cameron both talk about a generational struggle against extremism, yet we do little to empower the marginalised working poor to build a better future for themselves, their family and their community.

It is not only the West that is embroiled in a generational struggle against a poisonous brand of Islamic extremism, the front line in this struggle is in the East (in the Middle East, in Africa and in South Asia) where this poisonous narrative has taken deep roots.

The things we take for granted in developed economies; governance, regulations, access to institutions, resources both public and private to guide us and assist us, be it starting up small business or awareness of our rights. These privileges and safety nets are non-existent at the sharp end in conflict affected developing economies.  The citizens of these developing countries are not oblivious to the fact that it is the role of the state to provide such services and the state’s inability to do so has them seeking governmental and social transformation, individuals the world over chase the opportunity to build a better life/future for themselves, their family and community. People the world over want a life of prosperity, progress and peace not jihad, but the lack of a progressive transformation has given IS/ISIS an opportunity to exploit with a false hope of a better future under their Caliphate. 

What is required is for us to engage with the ‘at risk’ populous and course correct the social transformation that is already in motion. A small team with limited resources at Peace Through Prosperity has been engaged with marginalised individuals to empower them to build a better future for themselves, their family and communities; giving them the confidence of being the catalyst for transformation of their ecosystem. The team is achieving phenomenal results; the aim is to ensure IS/ISIS and its ilk have fewer and fewer individuals to radicalise both at home and abroad.

GoFundMe2 Peace Through Prosperity engages with marginalised and alienated individuals to ensure they have good reason to turn their backs on radicalisation and violent extremism, to condemn such acts rather than glorify them and their perpetrators. Just as IS is able to exploit moments when we let our guard down we avail the opportunities in the ecosystem to alienate IS/ISIS in its own environment from the indigenous population. It is peacebuilding through economic / enterprise development at the grass roots.

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Stopping an Un-Islamic State… an alternative approach 

unbent and unbroken Great Britain Friday the 26th 2015, 9th of Ramadhan, monsters we have come to know as IS struck across three countries – Tunisia, France and Kuwait – Britain could have been on the list (God Forbid) if not for our intelligence services or the lack of intelligence on IS member, Junaid Hussain’s part (Hallelujah for the lack of grey cells in his genetic makeup).
 
Whilst many were quick to blame the security and intelligence services in letting down their guards none so far have questioned the prevalent approach employed to counter the spread of extremism.

 

In Kuwait, a suicide bomber flew in from Saudi Arabia and carried out an attack on a mosque killing 27 people within hours of landing in Kuwait city (an impossible feat without an extensive local support network). In Tunisia, a lone gunman killed 38+ tourists at a seaside resort most of them Britons (once again not possible without an extensive local support network creating violent extremists out of  disenfranchised youth). In France, a Frenchman was beheaded by a Frenchman (an Algerian or Moroccan lone wolf radicalised either at home or in North Africa). The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait whilst the French terrorist’s affiliation is yet to be determined.
 
 
Each of these attacks demonstrated systemic planning and radicalisation of indigenous individuals Sousse PREVENT RADICALISATION ISIS ISLAMIC STATE by IS. It is time we seriously considered an alternative approach to ensure IS and its ilk have fewer and fewer individuals to radicalise both at home and abroad. It is time to win hearts and minds at the grassroots, to engage with marginalised and alienated individuals to ensure they have good reasons to turn their backs on radicalisation and violent extremism, to condemn such acts rather than glorify them and their perpetrators. Just as IS is able to exploit moments when we let our guard down we must exploit the opportunities before us to alienate IS in its own environment from the indigenous population.

 

We did not get peace in Northern Ireland because the terrorists wanted peace! we got peace because the indigenous population got sick of the cycle of violence which had no gain for either side in sight, the populous was convinced of the loose-loose outcome of the status quo. People the world over want a life of prosperity, progress and peace not jihad.

 

The only way to end this cycle of violence is for governments to invest on empowering the local indigenous population be it uneducated marginalised street merchants that may provide an extensive support infrastructure or disenfranchised graduates who are willing and able fodder for attacks on home soil and abroad. 
 
This is a common sense approach, IS is entrenched and playing the long game, they are building a state out of chaos and we too must play the long game if we are to ensure these monsters can never carve out a nation state from the chaos in the Levant and North Africa.
 
Generational-social-transformation Countering IS radicalisation at an individual level in Africa and Asia is less than the cost of a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG), it costs US$470 over a 10 month period to transform an individual at risk of radicalisation in a marginalised neighbourhood both materially and psychologically, to take them from someone who may condone violent extremism as a means for social transformation to someone who condemns it and has other means to transform themselves, their family and community. It costs US$500 to purchase an RPG grenade and a shed load more for the RAF bombs Mr Cameron wants to drop on Syria and Iraq.
 
Whilst we invest in ever more sophisticated surveillance technologies and infringe even more individual rights to keep ourselves and our society safe why not invest in the ‘right’ programs at the other end too and see what results social transformation bear upon our security at home.
 
The results of a pilot project targeting 214 marginalised individuals from seven radicalised neighbourhoods in Karachi, Pakistan proves that the alternative approach works. Providing marginalised individuals the tools and skills to take charge of their future, become financially independent has a direct relationship with their view of the world as their enemy, their view of licit and illicit vehicles for social transformation. 
You can read all about it here and if you agree with this alternative approach perhaps you can poke your MP or Congressman/woman to wake up to the fact that security of our towns and cities begins abroad… with Agile designed and delivered programs that are low cost and deliver immediate and lasting impact on the individuals, their family and community. 
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The program referred to in the post above is run by Peace Through Prosperity a charity co-founded by the author to address violent extremism. You can learn more about the charity and its work here;
Peace Through Prosperity is a community funded organisation, do your part in helping them do theirs; you can donate here via Paypal or directly to their bank account;
Account name: Peace Through Prosperity
Bank: HSBC Plc
Sort-code: 40-15-05
Account #: 223-410-93
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Gifts from Arabia

In April 2015 the Pakistani parliament grew a spine and dealt a blow to Saudi plans of defeating Yemen’s Houthi rebels using Pakistan’s battle hardened military, MPs voted overwhelmingly for the country to remain out of the conflict and rightfully so. On the 13th of May 2015 Saudia returned the favour through DAISH, an extension of the Saudi expansionist proxy army currently wrecking havoc from the Levant to Khorasan.

* UPDATE 22nd May 2015:

On the 15ht of May the LEAs in Karachi arrested 145 individuals from minions to handlers, On the day of the Massacre Jundallah a terrorist group associated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (an even bigger terrorist group) claimed it whilst leaving behind DAISH signed leaflets. On the 22nd of May the LEAs arrested and named four suspects – Saad Aziz, Muhammad Azhar Ishrat, Haafiz Nasir, Tahir Hussain Minhas – for their alleged involvement in the 13th May Massacre in which over 45 people lost their lives. The official statement claims three of the four arrested terror suspects hold degrees from respected universities whilst the mastermind; Tahir Hussain Minhas a seasoned veteran and handler is the least educated, a high school grad. This is a sea change in the type of ‘active’ assets deployed in their theatre of operations. Lets keep following this string down the rabbit hole…

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The attack earlier today on a minority within a minority; Ismaili Shia’s has upped the ante, the target was HRH Prince Karim Aga Khan’s community, a man not to be trifled with. The message was resoundingly clear for Nawaz Sharif’s government, ISI and the Pakistani Military, if Pakistan is not going to look after Saudi Arabia’s strategic interests then DAISH will attack Pakistan’s strategic interests, and the massacre of 46 Ismaili Shias’ does precisely that.

Take note General Raheel Shairf the COAS of the Pakistani Army postponed his trip to Sri Lanka following the massacre today and headed to Karachi, the top brass did not react in such a manner when 60 Shias were massacred in a mosque in January in Shikarpur district of Sindh, nor was the top brass in any hurry to reach Karachi when the Bohra Shia community was attacked in March earlier this year,  there was no swift reaction either in 2013 when 113 Shias were massacred in Quetta. However within 12 hours of the attack today the security services have managed to round up 70 militants in Karachi, it is obvious the establishment knows who the monsters are, where they stay holed up when not out butchering minorities.

The play here is clear, the question is will the parliament, government and the military retain its new found spine and take on its frenemy head on and clean house? or will they lay the blame on RAW and deny its populous justice and itself the truth. Winter is coming, and its time to pick a side Mr Sharif, self preservation or Saudi servitude which is the most direct route to civil war in your country.

#SafooraChowrangi #Karachi #Ismaili #Shia

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