Entering the early stages of World War III

Following the occupation of Marawi City by the Islamic State’s affiliate group called the Maute Group, it should be clear to all now that the world has entered the early stages of the next Great War. The occupation of Marawi along with previous and subsequent attacks in Europe proves the Islamic State’s capabilities to launch warfare even outside the Middle East.

I am reminded of one of our readings in our Foreign Policy class, the book entitled The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of World Order by Samuel Huntington (I suggest you read it as well). In the book, Huntington argues that the world after the Cold War would be divided along civilizational lines and in the process listed nine major civilizations. The greatest conflict supposedly would be between the Islamic civilization and Western civilization following the repercussions of the Persian Gulf War. The Islamic State’s declaration of war on the world (including on secular Muslim countries) and its propagation of conversion by the sword would prove Huntington right.

Even as it loses ground physically in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State’s ideological recruitment base is still massive. A 2015 study by Pew Research shows the Islamic State’s favorability in the following countries:
• Lebanon – less than 1%
• Israel – 1%
• Jordan – 3%
• Palestine – 6%
• Indonesia – 4%
• Turkey – 8%
• Nigeria – 14%
• Burkina Faso – 8%
• Malaysia – 11%
• Senegal – 11%
• Pakistan – 9%

Of course, given these numbers, it is easy to say that ISIS does not represent the broader Muslim community. However, one should note that 4% in Indonesia is already 12 million people and 9% in Pakistan is already 16 million people. That is still a giant recruiting base. The reality is that the Islamic State’s message has reached across the world, and they have gained sympathy from many millions of people. It would be a huge mistake to underestimate them just because they have lost ground in the Middle East.

The Islamic State has changed the very dynamics of warfare. Conventional thinking holds that warfare is like what we saw in the past century, where a battalion of troops backed up by planes, helicopters, or tanks takes over a city, overruns the opposing country’s military. Normally, people would also think that warfare only happens between nations over land and other resources.

The thing about ISIS is that you don’t have to head over to Raqqa and take an oath before Baghdadi. All you have to do is pledge allegiance from where you are and carry out an attack on your own. Lone wolf attacks are one of the primary features of ISIS-style warfare. All they have to do is radicalize one person in a given area and the person would just have to pick up a rifle and shoot up a theater or bomb a mall and he would be considered as part of the Islamic State. For example, the Orlando nightclub shooter last year.

The same works for groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. They do not have to sign a treaty in Raqqa. All they have to do is perform something big in order to be recognized. For example, the Maute Group’s occupation of the city of Marawi in Mindanao. It would be terribly misguided if one does not consider Maute as ISIS just because they never signed any form of agreement in Raqqa.

It is time that we stop judging ISIS by the conventional standards of warfare like how we judge conflicts between nations. To do so would be a terrible miscalculation in the middle of this war. While ISIS does not have the political legitimacy or a regimented military of a nation-state, the way it conducts wars is a major concern.

The Islamic State is not like Nazi Germany. It will not forcefully invade another territory like how Nazi Germany forced its way into Poland on September 1, 1939. Instead, it will radicalize and trains enough members of the target place’s local population. This allows them to slip through a country’s basic defense mechanisms which they would have to deal with if they were using conventional tactics of warfare and invasion. From there, the invasion will begin at the very heart of the targeted place, without the leaders and the people of that area ever realizing it. Unless we change course to win this war, they will do this city after city and country after country.

This is why Europe is a region which is a cause for concern. The already frequent terrorist attacks are one thing, but out-of-control immigration from across the Mediterranean along with politically correct vetting policies have made the region susceptible to an invasion from within by ISIS or any of its affiliates. The larger the Muslim population in Europe gets, the more opportunities for the Islamic State to create a recruiting base in the region (assuming they don’t already have one). Until they learn to change course, Europe as we know it is set to disappear.

Continuing to look at this situation with old lenses will get us nowhere. The very conduct of warfare has already changed. While many have not noticed it, the Islamic State has already ignited the flames for a war on a global scale. The Third World War has already begun, and the enemy is slipping right under our noses.

[Photo courtesy ABS-CBN News.]


Post Author: Celestino Manrique II

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12 Comments on "Entering the early stages of World War III"

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Not only in the Middle East but also other parts of the region like North Korea, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, China, Russia & Venezuela that will also be a hotspot for World War III. But the ISIS tactics are more modernized & dangerous. They could spread their ideologies & struggles through the use of modern communications like the internet, social media, cellphones, etc. as the world are getting smaller & closer. And the question now is how we gonna stop them, and what’s the REAL reason on how the ISIS had appeared to our world in the 1st place… Read more »

There’s something else behind the guise that is the radicalization of Islam… An ideology that just went underground and is alive and have continued to this day…

Well-written article. I suspect ideologies peddled by “ISIS” (which as you correctly point out, is more of an idea than an actual thing, or group) take hold because there are no COMPETING ideologies. Look at what the Philippines has to offer: – Pinoy Pride (pretend your country is the best in the world even when it’s somewhere in the bottom 10), and – the Catholic Church (produce lots of kids and be poor, because God wants you to be poor). How pathetic is that? It’s hardly any surprise that radicals, offering young lads the chance to be “heroes”, are gaining… Read more »
Ross Galán
The “ONLY” way to prevent the world, our world from ““Entering the early stages of World War III” is not staging protests, demonstrations or anything of a sort, but having LOVING, HEARTFUL, LOVEFUL, PEACEFUL… thoughts on an individual level from the recently born child to the elder ones formally or informally educated up to the people “leading” each and every respective country they’re governing. If “common” people/citizens see this in their leaders, it is LIKELY that they (the common people) will do the same as it is quite remote to do the other way round as the common people have… Read more »
This Mindanao problem has nothing to do with WW3. and: WW2 was started to prevent the Western Elites from losing power to the Russian People Power Revolution. The WESTERN ELITE’s BACKED BOTH SIDES IN WW2 TO ENSURE THEY WOULD BE ON THE WINNING SIDE(a strategy as old as the Sicilian Mafia) AND HAVE A BUFFER AGAINST RUSSIA. Henry Ford’s engine’s were in NAZI TANKS, FFS !and Ford himself was a NAZI. As was the British Royal Family and Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands.The USA/Western Elite’s bankrolled Hitler through a BANK LOCATED @ 39 Broadway in NEW YORK CITY,NY,USA because GERMANY… Read more »
Reading these commenst ,it is clear…Filipino’s actually do not realize that ISIS and Al-Qaeda were created by the USA CIA to to into countries and de-stabilize them when those countries do not do what the USA wants them to do. In Libya, Khaddaffy tried to create an Oil/GOLD backed currency and also tried to sell Oil on the World Market for Gold, THAT IS WHY HE WAS REMOVED FROM POWER.Khaddafy no longer wanted to accept what he saw as worthless American USDollars for his precious Oil. AND YOU ALL SAW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT, MUSLIM TERROSITS ALL OF A SUDDEN STARTED… Read more »

Only the dead have seen the end of war.


I dont’ think we are entering the phase of World War III. Terrorism has been with human civilization , in many forms for centuries…some are called “freedom fighters”…their enemies called them : “terrorists…