A fourth wave?
BRUSSELS is a world away from here. Different reasons, different trajectories. Plus, we’ve already had our Parises and Brussels several times over.
But Brussels is important because it confirms what Paris had revealed: a fourth wave of jihad. As we tamp down our own third wave of jihad, might we too face a fourth down the road?
Speculation is a dirty game, but worse is to be caught unawares and unprepared.
Before we get into the possible conditions for a fourth wave, let’s look at the first three that have gone by here in Pakistan. First, of course, was the Afghan jihad. The one that eventually morphed into Al Qaeda and the hell it unleashed on us.
Second was Kashmir and the anti-India lot. Redirected, re-energised and then mutated beyond recognition, parts of it turned on us, while other parts have flourished to the great distortion of the communities in which the networks have spread.
Third were the TTP and its cohorts. Triggered by a combination of events, partly rooted in the evolution of the first lot into Al Qaeda and partly resulting from the shockwave that the US war in Afghanistan sent through Fata, it may be on the verge of running its course.
But if the first three waves taught us anything, it is that jihad is influenced by events in the region and the world — the shadow of the Cold War; the unfinished business of Kashmir and Partition; the mixing of an earlier creation and a superpower’s later intervention.
Right now, jihad is really the only game in town — in the world. In the media. On the net. In the global discourse. Jihad is to the Muslim world what Donald Trump has become to the US: ubiquitous, cacophonous, impossible to ignore.
And you can bet there are some here willing to listen to what it has to say.
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