Islamism is even more untethered than Communism, loosely originating from powerful oil nations, but able to spring up anywhere in the Muslim world. Its proponents have even less use for the nation state than the Communists. What they want is a Caliphate ruled under Islamic law; a single unit of human organization extending across nations, regions and eventually the world.
The left is incapable of engaging with Islamism as an ideology, instead it reduces the conflict to a struggle between colonial and anti-colonial forces, showing once again that the left’s worldview is usually at least fifty years out of date. Mapping colonial and anti-colonial conflicts over a map of Mali, where the anti-colonial forces are represented by the slave-owning Tuaregs and the Arab and Pakistani Jihadis invading an African country, makes very little sense, but that is all that the left knows how to do.