The first self-declared Islamic state in the post-colonial era emerged in 1979 between the region of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iraq. The state continued the legacy of Reza Shah Pehalvi with the new political narrative of Wilayate e Faqih; a similar entity was produced by ISIS in 2013 under Baghdadi’s self-claimed Islamic State of Levant. Both the regimes, working under the guise of faith, have a huge number of civilian casualties and are abusive of the inherent human rights, a prime feature of an ideologically-driven state, whether it is the USSR or the ideology behind the French revolution of 1789, triggering the Reign of Terror, or more recently, the political instability and increase in displacement of people or achieved in the aftermath of the October 1917 revolution.

However, with the passage of time, all these ideologically driven states settle down acquiring more political stability and the charges against them simmer down. So might be the case of ISIS. The current wave against ISIS, especially in Iraq, might be successful in the short run and partly successful in Syria, but the idea of the establishment of the Islamic State will still be there and cannot be killed with bomber jets. The political vacuum of the Sunni version of Islam will definitely be filled either by an organization like the ISIS, or its offshoots, or, much better, by a political organization like the Muslim Brotherhood which has not been given any space in the Arab world. The choice is for those who are at the helm of affairs.

When Syria, under Hafez ul Assad, banned Muslim Brotherhood’s operations inside the country, it had never imagined that one day it will have to deal with a stricter organization of its kind i.e. ISIS. When Muslim Brotherhood was curbed in the entire Arab world, especially under Gamel Abdul Nasser’s rule and influenced areas, the political vacuum of Pan-Muslim political identity was filled by Al-Qaeda and its franchises in the Middle East. And, later on, the when that was also curbed, the creation of ISIS and its successful appeal around the world was welcomed by the people who believe in the pan-Muslim identity.

As far as the barbarity of ISIS is concerned, Syria under Assad saw more killings of civilians; and far greater were the statistics of the massive killings committed by the USSR in the aftermath of the October 1917 revolution. Even US-occupied Iraq committed casualties of millions of Iraqi citizens and dealt barbaric punishments to the captured prisoners, similar to ISIS’s approach, and, in the past, actuated by Hulagu Khan in 1258, in the capital of modern Iraq.

In the past, the Pentagon paid certain groups $500 million to make fake videos against Al-Qaeda to hurt its political ambitions, and so might be the policy they develop against ISIS, with no dramatic changes taken place in Pentagon since the Iraq invasion. The media-portrayed barbaric image of ISIS has only been beneficial for ISIS in getting more recruits and increasing its global appeal. With the recent changes in White House, if ISIS shows some flexibility and political maturity, with the consent of other permanent Security Council members, ISIS might be able to gain a seat in the General Assembly of United Nations. Or, the Arab world still has the alternative of the Muslim Brotherhood which possess a far more flexible, rather democratic, and western-educated class in its ranks. It is upto the stakeholders to make their choice to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood or the successors of Baghdadi in the region.