ISIS Has Moved Back To Iraq, But On Their Own Terms
The "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham" (ISIS), also known as "Da'ash" by the Arabs in the region, has all but steam rolled through Iraq taking over key northern cities such as Mosul and Fallujah.
While the threat that ISIS presents in Iraq is very real, they are repeating the same kind of ruthlessness they dealt out in Syria for the past two years.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda disbanded the Syrian faction of the Islamic State in April, 2013. Al-Zawahiri blamed the leaders of both al-Nusra and ISIS of acting without the knowledge of the central al-Qaeda leadership.
Zawahiri specified the "wilaya makanya," or area of political activity, for each group: the Islamic State of Iraq should confine itself to Iraq, with the Nusra Front given sole authority for Syria. The plot thickened when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is the emir of ISIS made it clear that he rejected this ruling and the group continued to operate in Syria.
Photo Credit: Unknown
The video below is an example of what ISIS has consistently orchestrated across Syria and now has begun in Iraq.
It is bewildering that Secretary Kerry said in a press conference last week that it is surprising "how fast ISIS has moved through Iraq." As ISIS has moved into cities like Mosul, they have quickly acquired vast stock piles of US armaments which has made them extremely powerful. The Iraqi Shiite Army saw them coming and made a conscience decision to "lay down their weapons and run" before ISIS even hit town. Many wonder why this decision was made by the Iraqi Army, but it isn't so hard to understand.
The Iraqis are war fatigued and they apparently didn't have what it takes to get into a "fight with satan's warriors." ISIS are not soldiers, they have no code of honor. They don't just kill their prey. Often they behead them and display their heads in public squares. They don't wage fair fights, they execute their opponents at close range after rounding them up. ISIS makes sure that women and children are present to witness their atrocities.
It is said that Iraqis of the Sunni faith are joining the ISIS group (who are also Sunni), to continue the fight south to Baghdad and further. If this is true, it isn't because the Sunni Muslims in Iraq are committed to ISIS. It is because they have been marginalized by the Maliki government. They believe that ISIS is their only option to gain recognition and a seat at the government table. This is an unlikely scenario. However, when people are so desperate for change, "they are willing to try anything to get something."
The leaders of ISIS are masters at making false promises, in order to receive followers: "promise a lot, deliver nothing."
Islamists unleash all-out assault on Iraqi cities with US weapons
President Obama and his advisors have been "weighing their options", as they consider what to do with Iraq. The President's options range anywhere between "do nothing" and putting boots on the ground en masse. The current decision is to send 300 advisors to help the Iraqis.
Which Iraqis will the 300 advisors help?
Will the US advisors help Maliki (and Iran) get a grip on ISIS and ...? There is no way to help Maliki without "helping" Iran, as they are synonymous. This is a thought-provoking question.
What happens to the ISIS terrorists that have been plundering and pillaging their way through Iraq? Are they going to be chased back to the north where they were laying in wait for the right moment to strike? Or will they be chased across the border into Syria to join their brothers who have terrorist cells in place but would covet more of the US weapons cache that ISIS collected in Iraq. Additional ISIS terrorists in Syria would cause further bloodshed, horror and massacre.
President Obama said in an NBC press conference today (6/19/2014) that there will not be American soldiers fighting on the ground in Iraq. Although, he did say it is in America's best interest to prevent a civil war, due to humanitarian interests and economic interests. The cost of oil has made a noticeable rise since ISIS began their march on Baghdad.
Obama did mention Syria as an example of where ISIS has caused serious atrocities and created a training ground for terrorists who could be sent home to Europe and the US. He said it was in the US interest to prevent this from happening in Iraq.
During the news conference, President Obama's explanation about why the US has neglected to support the moderate opposition in Syria was both disheartening and disingenuous. Secretary Kerry's recent statement that the US and other International Partners had "wasted the last two years" trying to negotiate with Assad instead of working on arming the moderate opposition was much more direct.
ISIS terrorists are experts at disrupting the stage so they can move to their own "choreographed war path" President Obama and the US advisors must understand that ISIS must be dealt with as a single malignant cancer that is growing both in Syria and Iraq. In order to kill this malignant cancer, it must be eradicated completely in both areas.
Clearly there are those within Iraq that have found a different way to deal with the Sunni - Shia differences:
Kimberly Jones is a global nomad who writes about international issues, however, she has a special interest in Middle East and North Africa affairs. Read more stories by Kimberly Jones.
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