Should Jihadists from the Islamic State be allowed back in the UK?


 

Western jihadists in training in Syria

Western jihadists in training in Syria

Dual nationality jihadists may have UK nationality rescinded

Over the last week the media has been pondering – or should that be ‘pontificating’ – over what should be done about returnees from the Islamic State slaughterfest in Syria and Iraq. The Guardian online noted that

“many of the British jihadis want to return home, having grown disillusioned with the internecine warfare between rebel forces – which prompts the question of what or who inspired them to go in the first place.” Guardian, September 7, 2014.

Sorry? What inspired them? The prevailing inspiration would have been minimal, to be frank. Apart from the ‘we’re all Muslims together on a Jihad’ thing, clearly they had spent far too much time tweeting and texting each other with blood-curdling visions of not-so-derring-do and hadn’t really thought about the range of options that would be forced upon them, thereby shafting their psychology for the next decade or seven: They grew ‘disillusioned with the internecine warfare between rebel forces’? Hello, Jihadis? You scuttled off to the Middle East without doing any research, didn’t you? The Middle East is the home of internecine slaughter at strategic pinch-points in history. Let me put it into perspective: The Middle East is what Northern Ireland was, and those running the conflict in Northern Ireland took lessons, and semtex, from Middle Eastern war barons.

Internecine conflicts in the Middle East? Really?

What did you expect when you went there? Did you have Richard The Lionheart-like visions of righting wrongs or Muhammadan dreams of battling with Tagheet governments, with certain victory and afterwards sitting in Bedouin tents in the evening eating sheeps’ eyeballs washed down with camel’s milk while you gradually worked towards the utopian Islamic State? Not likely really, is it? 

You can be sure of one thing in the Middle East, as soon as you have a winning formula, someone else wants it. Just as you think you are winning, in comes another splinter group from somewhere or another that disputes your claim to your victory. It’s a bit like Monty Python’s People’s Front of Judea and their battles with the Judean People’s Front.

The Middle East is the headiest mix of influences, geopolitical, tribal and sectarian warfare is the certain punctuation mark of the comings and goings of Asia Minor, driven by oil, or water or anything else that is deemed to be of strategical importance. The men who invented Islam knew it, that’s why it was so uniquely ‘are you one of us’ and if you were then you would die if you rebelled. It was meant to unify and in a sense it did, but when Muhammad died, guess what? No one could decide who should succeed him:

If a son had existed, perhaps the whole history of Islam would have been different. The discord, the civil war, the rival caliphates, the split between Sunni and Shia — all might have been averted.

Mohammed died ‘abtar’ (as they say in Arabic), meaning without male issue, ‘curtailed, cut off, severed’. That was the beginning of the long and bloody history of internecine sectarianism and division; and one that we see to this day.

In a western sense, armies are run on discipline but Middle Eastern armies are run on numbers of people – big numbers – they’re largely ineffective but there’s lots of them. The problem is always the arousal of tribal or sectarian loyalties and these have been behind the conflict in the recently wrecked Libya and now it is wrecking Iraq and Syria. Some of the recruits to the IS jihad may well regret going in the first place, especially when the dust settles and the rivers of blood dry up. 

The British Nationality Act grants the government authority to revoke the citizenship of any dual national or naturalised citizen whose presence in the U.K. isn’t “conducive to the public good.” Many such exuberant but misguided Muslim youths, although possibly second or third generation immigrants, may well have dual nationality, the second nationality stemming from their ancestral origins. If that is the case, the Geneva Convention will not apply in terms of repudiated UK statehood, as they won’t be stateless if the UK authorities decide that these people are not welcome back, and I for one wouldn’t blame our government for doing just that.

 

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