The government is expected to sit with the Facebook this month to prevent posting of offensive contents. Discussion with the Facebook authorities to solve the issue and take necessary steps against those who run pages from abroad for spreading fundamentalism and militancy. State Minister for Telecommunications has said social networking sites run their activities as per their own choices and decisions but they should formulate and implement their policies in such a way that those don’t go against the norms and laws of any country and such sites should formulate their policies considering the social, religious and cultural values of different countries. The State Minister said that the Facebook has already shut down several pages for their provokative comments and posts after responding to government request within 48 hours.
In recent years, the country has observed some radical violence throughout the country where Facebook was used. After the appearance of a Facebook post showing a faked image of a Hindu deity placed inside a building in Makkah, extremists destroyed numerous Hindu temples and homes in Nasirnager, Brahmanbaria. The image later proved to be Photo-shopped. On 29 September 2012, mobs destroyed numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries in reaction to an image depicting the desecration of a copy of the holy Quran on a fake Facebook account under a fake Buddhist name. In 2016, DMP suspected 30 Facebook pages were used for campaigning extremism. Some Facebook pages had previously been closed but the militants still remain active by creating new pages. On December 8, 2015 the government sat with Facebook executives for the first time and said that it was threatening national security. Facebook was asked to set up an office in Bangladesh to filter local contents related to religious provocation and conspiracy against the state.
Militants use Facebook to collect new members and campaign extremism. Such groups examine attitudes of the targets on Facebook. If the target person seems suitable he is included in a specific facebook group and is provided with radical posts. Later, key functionaries contact the preferred person and give him final training for operation. Currently, it takes 48 hours for the Facebook authorities to respond to complaints lodged by the government. There is a tendency among the young generation to fish for ‘likes’ and thus, they do not focus on the content, which is sometimes objectionable. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have pledged to work together to identify and remove extremist content on their platforms through an information-sharing initiative.
Stability in Iraq depends on ending sectarian wounds
The loss of Mosul is perhaps the biggest military setback for the Islamic State. Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul was the jewel of the IS’s military gains, a place where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his ‘Caliphate’ in June 2014. In less than three years, the IS’s territory has shrunk. It once controlled huge swathes in central and eastern Syria and north-western Iraq, but its influence is now limited to some pockets, through sustained military operations in which several actors such as Kurdish and Shia militias, Iraqi and Syrian armies and the U.S. and Russian air forces were involved. A few weeks ago, the IS lost the ancient city of Palmyra to the Syrian army. And now, it’s been practically defeated in Mosul. Iraqi troops have already captured the Mosul airport and major administrative buildings, and liberated population centers. What remains is isolated resistance by small groups of jihadists. It was a prolonged campaign.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the Mosul offensive in October 2016, and the troops, backed by Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia militias on the ground and U.S. air power in the sky, moved inch by inch. They first liberated eastern Mosul, the left bank of the Tigris that divides the city into two, and then moved to the west, the IS’s power center.The defeat in Mosul does not mean that the threat from the IS is over. The group still has presence in some pockets in Iraq and in at least two major cities in Syria, Raqqa and suburbs of Deir ez-Zor. Even if the group loses its territories, it could transform itself into a state-less jihadist group like al-Qaeda and continue to target civilians in the region and beyond. But still, the larger argument is that without territories, the IS couldn’t claim to be a ‘Caliphate’. It will be driven away from cities to deserts and mountains, wrecking its conventional military capabilities.
In the short run, the military operations to liberate territories from the IS in Syria and Iraq should continue; in the longer run, the respective governments should adopt a more comprehensive approach to deal with the asymmetric threats the group will pose. In Iraq, for example, the IS’s eventual defeat depends on how the government addresses Shia-Sunni tensions. Prime Minister al-Abadi appears to be clear on his preferences. Unlike his predecessor whose Shia sectarian policies drove the Sunni population to revolt against Baghdad, a resentment which the IS exploited for popular support, Mr. al-Abadi tried to reach out to the Sunnis and promised to heal the sectarian wounds. After the military victory in Mosul, he has to make sure that the Sunnis are treated as equal citizens and share power equitably and start the process.