BLOG 226 November 17, 2014
Since the emergence of ISIS (now called the Islamic State), there has not been much good news coming out of the war in Syria that has spilled over into Iraq when the sudden appearance of this coalition of extremists burst out of the civil war in Syria, Iraq appeared about to be swallowed as the army dropped their arms and fled. With the entry of American and allied air strikes, the situation has begun to change.
This past week Iraqi armed forces pushed the militants out of a strategic oil refinery near the town of Beiji, north of Baghdad. This particular refinery is the largest in Iraq and will now require repair to function again. This accomplishment is the most significant advance that the Iraqis have made since the terrorist captured much of northern and western Iraq and is the latest setback for the Islamic State. Beji will now become a base for attacks to take back Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein.
This past week the Associated Press released a statement indicating the Islamic State had lost hundreds of fighters because of the air strikes by the United States and its allies. Kurdish fighters have also made significant progress in fighting ISIS. Kurdish fighters made advances in the important town of Kobani in Syria. Since the entry of American airpower, ISIS has had few successes. At the same time, the Iraqi army has also had a low number of advances. The war remains intense.
This weekend the chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey made a surprise unannounced visit to Iraq and met with General Babkir Zebari as well as other military officials. Dempsey indicated that more American troops may yet be needed to create stability.
In the midst of these positive developments, ISIS terrorists have committed another atrocity filmed for television release. Aid worker Peter Kassig came to Syria to help the needy and wounded when he was kidnapped by ISIS. While his parents were reluctant to make public responses because they knew this was what ISIS intended in their propaganda campaign. As a last resort, they made a plea for their son’s life. Tragically, the ISIS leaders remained barbaric and Peter Kassig was beheaded and a video was sent across the world.
The civilized world finds it difficult to understand how a beheading could be a recruitment tactic. The depraved know different. Psychopathic personalities are often drawn to the macabre and diabolical. Sadly, Peter Kassig was used to satisfy the appetite of the demonic.
While ISIS may think they are frightening the West, they have galvanized a military response. The current advances in Iraq are not large, but they signal that ISIS will be stopped. Beheading helpless prisoners will be met by bombings and renewed Iraqi troops that will exact their own price. ISIS has failed to learn that he “who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”