BLOG 217 – September 8, 2014
Like it or not, the American public must take a second and more penetrating look at the crisis that has evolved in Iraq. While it is true President Obama ran on the promise to get America out of Middle Eastern wars and Iraq in particular, he has been dilatory in his slow response to this new crisis. The hastiness of the Bush-Cheney era has caused Obama to be overly cautious in reacting to severe changes in the Syrian crisis. Probably one of his biggest errors was drawing a line in the sand over the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, retreating, and then calling on Putin to pull him out. Now, Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine is a sign of his reading Obama as a paper tiger.
The West can’t allow such indecision with ISIS.
ISIS is a lineal descendant of al Qaeda and its efforts in Iraq. When Sadaam fell, a vacuum was left and the remaining government proved to be prejudiced and inept. Jordanian Abu Musab al Zarqawi moved in and set up shop in Iraq. Instead of listening to guidance from al Qaeda, he exploited the growing sectarian grievance with the Prime Minister Nouri Malaki. Zarqaui was betting Iraq could be overturned in a civil war that would give Sunnis more power in the country. By creating a radical Islamist country, Zarqawi looked toward a superstate that would be able to create the unity that existed in the early days of Islam. Consequently, the current barbaric killings and assassinations reflect his thinking.
An air strike in 2006 killed Zarqawi, but he was close to achieving his goal. However, his vision survived and moved men and equipment to Syria to fight against Assad and the Alawite sect. During the civil war, the army grew as they robbed banks and stole loot on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border. American did nothing.
As time progressed, the original al Qaeda organization distanced itself from this movement because of its violence. What worried Ayman al Zawahiri (Ben Ladin’s successor) was the violence of this group toward other Muslims. There was no middle ground or allowance for a variation of opinion. Their motto was “join, fall on your face, or die!” They proved to be particularly strong in working the “dying” angle.
Out of this cauldron of intolerance and pain came the ISIS movement that swept across Iraq and immediately captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. Of course, the ISIS movement has a visceral hatred for America and Israel –their ultimate objectives for attack. Should they be able to attack an American target, they would recruit a new army of extremist overnight. One of the greatest dangers of this organization at this point is their persistent ability to sweep through Iraq and appear invincible. The ISIS organization knows well how to make propaganda out of such an endeavor. The two recent be-headings were aimed for recruiting purposes.
Unfortunately for ISIS, their barbarism has back-fired as recent American missile strikes have demonstrated. Rather than creating fear, they have raised the ire of Western nations that are now coming for them. The time is long passed getting serious. If America doesn’t stop them today, the US will face a more terrible threat tomorrow.