It’s no surprise that there are some people from Southeast Asia currently fighting in Syria and Iraq on behalf of the Islamic State (IS). IS has recruited people from all over the world, so this cannot come as any surprise.
So when Yahoo news announced how the death of a Malaysian Islamist in Syria fighting on behalf of IS has sparked an outpouring of eulogies on social media, many people were rightfully concerned. However there’s just one problem.
Lotfi Ariffin, the Malaysian in question, does not fight for IS!
He died fighting the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad on behalf of an Islamic group call Ajnad al-Sham, a rebel group that operates near the Syrian capital of Damascus which is not affiliated to IS or the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Having said that, according to his regular posts on social media, Mr. Lotfi Ariffin was a proud Islamist who believed he was answering a call for jihad in Syria.
That is short is the headache facing Western and Arabic states looking to take on IS in Syria and Iraq. Do they just attack IS or should they also attack other Islamic militant groups like Nusra Front and Ajnad al-Sham? How do they differentiate between the groups and if they attack all of them, would that make/force the groups to band together?
For people who are wondering why it is taking so long for the U.S and the Western countries to attack IS, this is just one of the big problems they are facing with no clear answer.