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The Evolving Sophistication of Extremism Draped in Religious Ideology

If it is true as claimed by the Islamic State(IS) that it is responsible for downing a Russian passenger airliner last weekend over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, then it would underscore the evolving sophistication of extremists driven by religious ideology and fighting to establish a Caliphate.

The failure of the international community to rid the Levant of the atrocities of Bashar al Assad, has added fuel to the recruitment base of extremists. Moreover, chatter with regards to possible talks involving Assad in any transition to peace in Syria, has undoubtedly pushed extremists to greater sophistication in their fight, especially since Russian has intervened to shore up the failed regime of Bashar al Assad. Also, rumors of talks between Assad and western nations have reignited an extremist fallacy that western powers practice hypocrisy. Hence, extremists might consider more sophistication in an attempt to achieve their objective.

Should it be proved that the IS now has the military capability and sophistication to target planes at high altitudes, then for the sake of the vulnerable airline industry and for the wider world's economic and social health, the IS could possibly be engaged in communications with a view to de-escalating violence and instability in the Middle East.

If there could be rumors of talks with Bashar al Assad, then there could be talks with the IS. The IS is brutal. Bashar al Assad is more brutal. His war has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people including civilians, women and children who have been barrel-bombed and gassed by Assad's forces. Assad has displaced millions of his own people contributing to the destabilization of governments from the Middle East to Europe. Assad's reign has embolden the rise of the IS.

However, any talks with the IS must involve the full prosecution of leaders and fighters responsible for crimes against humanity. Yet, there could be talks because the evolving sophistication of religious extremism in the Middle East stands as a clear and present danger to the continuity of civil society.