The House of Saud has put its military forces on high alert as extremist hard line recruits for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has reached the border of the desert kingdom and long time US ally. The extremist off-shoot of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and now commanded by Abu al-Baghdadi, now threatens the stability of Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of its de facto partition of the Iraqi state.
The SPA news agency cites that spill over from destabilization in Iraq is not its only concern, but that the threat emanating from Yemen is “very real,” according to a Saudi official who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.
Yemen has been a hot bed of trouble for successive administrations in the United States long before bin Laden and his heirs became household names, going back to the bombing of the USS Cole on October 12, 2000. Policy efforts since that time to shore up a weak central authority have been static at best, as the Unicef report on al-Qaeda’s exploitation and abuse of children indicates. Mohammed al-Saadi, Minister of Planning and Co-operation, says the situation in Yemen “is still complicated and the political, economic and security continue to dictate the degree of success and fairness of integrated development.”
Isis, however, has apparently had enough of complication, and its desire for a unified caliphate under strict Islamic law appeals to the nostalgia of simpler times which never existed, even during the golden age of Arabic rule after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Al-Baghdadi needs only to look to his own strategic gifts to realize the past can never be recreated without furthering the complexity his zealotry seeks to diminish. He is evidently skilled at delegation and negotiation, as well as ruthlessness; his members use a social media developed by the defense department of his enemy, just as other global citizens do. Whether or not he succeeds in his quest, he is the incontrovertible product of a complicated world.