Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ISIS a Response to Conditions Where State has Collapsed, MGIMO Expert Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 30 – ISIS is an adaptive response to territories where the state has collapsed and which have to get by “without the state as a form of organization of society” and thus present themselves as opponents of the state as such, according to Nikolay Silayev, a specialist on security in the Caucasus at MGIMO.

            It thus poses a threat to any place where the state is weak or can be described as having failed, he continues, but it is ever less of a problem in the North Caucasus where he says the state is recovering. In his view, “the state is always stronger than any bands” at least in the long run (kavpolit.com/articles/kavkaz_2020_vozvraschenie_gosudarstva-17893/).

            ISIS is “not what we are accustomed to understand by the term ‘state,’” Silayev says. Rahter “it is a new type of uprising organization” that perhaps can best be described by saying it is “post-modern.” It “actively hands out franchises to the leaders of radical Islamists beyond the borders of the Near East and the latter quickly unite to this movement.”

            “In other words,” he says, “this is an anti-system movement to the extent it brings together people who are not included or do not want to be included in contemporary society and the world economy.”

            “Radical political Islam is good as the institutional framework for the new statelessness,” Silayev continues, because “in radical Islam there simply is no category of the state, and shariat law functions as the regulatory base.” In certain respects, it is even “neo-liberal” because it seeks to reduce the state to as little as possible, although it provides no normal property guarantees.it

            “In an economic crisis,” when the state cannot collect as much in taxes as it did and thus must cut back services, “ISIS looks stronger because it does not link itself to many things which are part and parcel of contemporary nation states.” It “doesn’t support infrastructure, education, health care or social security … “in general this is a medical economic state.”

            Silayev says he does “not believe that an ordination territorial state will be formed out of ISIS,” as some think given that ISIS barbarians—and that is what they are, he argues -- will destroy the defenders of a state and then become the state itself only to be overthrown in turn by new barbarians.

            Asked about the case of Varvara Karulova who sought to join ISIS and how dangerous that makes ISIS for Russia, Silayev replies that too much is being made of her case: “When one girl from a good family unexpectedly falls into the network of ISIS, then a hullaballoo is raised; but when hudnreds if not thousands of guys from the North Caucasus do so, the [Moscow] press is silent.”

            That means that ISIS does pose a threat to the North Caucasus, Silayev continues, but for the time being, it doesn’t threaten the Russian Federation as a whole.

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