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ISIS or ISIL, who are they and what are their goals?

Updated on March 25, 2016
peoplepower73 profile image

I'm very much interested in what goes on in the middle east and how it affects us. I try to get to the root cause of problems.

The Mid-East Today
The Mid-East Today | Source

ISIS or ISIL?

From a definition standpoint ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL on the other hand stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. I have heard many people, including politicians use these terms interchangeably. However, after doing the research, I found there is a marked difference between ISIS and ISIL. ISIS describes the territory that dis-enfranchised Sunni militants want to control in the short term, namely Iraq and Syria. But they also have long term goals of controlling the Levant. The Levant includes the following countries.

  • Jordan
  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Lebanon
  • Cyprus
  • Parts of southern Turkey

As you can see from the map below, ISIL is a much more ambitious movement than ISIS. Since ISIL is a long term goal for the movement, from this point forward in this article, I will use the term ISIS to mean both ISIL and ISIS.

Source

What are the differences between Sunni, Shia, and Kurd?

In general, there are three main religious groups in the region with at least three separate belief systems about who should lead the Arab Nation.

Sunnis believe Mohammad said that Muslim countries should be ruled by a leader who is the most capable. This leader is called a Caliph, the supreme religious and political leader of Islam. The land and people the Caliph rules is called a Caliphate.


Shias believe Mohammed said that Muslim countries should be ruled by direct descendants of Mohammed. These leaders are called Imams, the supreme religious and political leader of Islam.


The Kurds have a mixture of many religions including Sunni, Shia, Christian, and many off-shoots from all of those religions. However, they are sitting on an oil rich territory that borders southern Turkey. They were nomadic people, who from the time of World War I, have not had a country or a national Identity. Their territory is called Kurdistan, but it is not recognized as a sovereign state.

Apparently,how the leader of Islam becomes a leader is very important for Sunni and Shia, and also some of the Kurds. It is so important that they are willing to fight and die for their beliefs.

But let us not forget, a wise man once said:" All wars are fought for economic reasons."

What does the the Ottoman Empire have to do with the Mid-East?

In order to understand how the mid-east countries were formed, one has to go back to before WWI. Before WWI, the major political force in the mid-east was the Ottoman Empire. The map below shows the countries in the middle east today. The dashed line borders define the region the Ottoman Empire controlled before WWI.

Source

What Happened After WWI?

As a result of WWI, the Ottoman Empire was destroyed. The Sykes-Picot agreement between the British and the French resulted in carving up the former Ottoman Empire into zones of influence as shown in the map below. These zones were laid out without any regard for the differences in ethnicity, culture, or religion. However, this gave the British and the French control and influence over the region.

Sykes-Picot Borders

Source

Sectarian Distribution

Here is how the sectarian groups are distributed throughout the middle-east.

Shiites occupy the coast of Lebanon and Syria and parts of Turkey. Today, ISIS is calling this the Levant. This is what this area was called after the British mandate. Shiites also occupy southern Iraq as the majority.

Sunnis occupy most of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the southern parts of Turkey where they are mixed with the Kurds. They also occupy most of the northern parts of Iraq, where they are in the minority.

Shiite/Sunni mix are in the western parts of Syria and Turkey and parts of Iran

Kurds occupy the Southern parts of Turkey and the northern parts of Iraq. They are in one of the most oil-rich regions in the middle-east. They are also one of the largest populations of people in the world without a country.

The map below shows the distribution of groups throughout the region.

Religious/Ethnic Mix

Source

What does the Invasion of Iraq have to do with ISIS?

Prior to the U.S. invading Iraq, Sunnis were the minority and Shia were the majority population. Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, was the President. Saddam kept the Shia majority in control by his tyrannical means of governance. He was even an ally to the U.S. at one time. After Persian Gulf 1, Bush 1 was asked why he didn't take Saddam out. His answer was that "He was like an antibody, a weakened germ that kept balance in the region."

After Saddam was removed from power, the U.S. made Nouri al-Maliki, a hardcore Shia, the Prime Minister, with hopes of creating an inclusive government. Saddam's Ba'th Party was removed from power and told to go home along with all the Iraqi Military and their arms. Of course we let the soldiers keep their arms, which they later used against our troops! And now ISIS is made up mainly of those dis-enfranchised Sunnis and using many of those same weapons and armament to wage their war.


Should they be called ISIS, ISIL , or Sunni Extremist? I vote for Sunni extremist. It is a much more descriptive name for them. The I in ISIS and ISIL stands for Islam, but they do not make up or represent the entire nation of Islam. They are only a part of it. However their goal is to become a world wide movement and they are doing a good job of terrorizing other countries throughout the world. Because of their propaganda, they are successful at recruiting from other nations and religions, even the United States. According to the latest news, they are bringing in more than 50 recruits per day.

The media should stop calling them ISIS/ ISIL and call them what they really are: disenfranchised Sunni terrorists extremists. People should understand that Iran is mainly made up of Shiites who are fighting these Sunni's. We should stop looking at them as coming from specific countries. The Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds are all religious sects that do not have an allegiance to a specific country but to their form of religion, no matter what country or region they are from.

Currently, the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran about limiting their nuclear operations. However many politicians are stating that we should not be negotiating with them because they are threat to their neighbors. Their neighbors being Israel. However Iran is made up of primarily Shia who are fighting ISIL (Sunni's) in Iraq. In other words, they are helping to remove ISIS from Iraq. Why would this administration want to jeopardize this situation if it benefits us?

What Armament does ISIS have?

  • Thirty T-55 series Soviet Tanks
  • Five to 10 Soviet T-72 series Tanks
  • Humvees, acquired from Mosul when they over-ran the city.
  • AK-47 Soviet Assault rifles
  • M079 Rocket Launchers
  • RPG Grenade Launchers
  • M198 Howitzer - Acquired from Iraqi Army
  • M59 Field Guns
  • ZU23 - Soviet Anti-Aircraft guns
  • Stinger MANPADS - Acquired from Iraqi Military
  • HJ8 Anti Tank Missile
  • DShK Machine Guns
  • English Language Social Media Propaganda.

I know this is a lot to digest, but it does give one a feel for the depth and breadth of their fire power. Probably one of the most important weapons they have is propaganda. It gives them the tools to recruit additional military people, and to add new followers to their ranks, and to strike fear into their enemy's by be-heading westerners.

Source: New York Times

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. | Source

Who is the ISIS Caliphate?

They have a self-proclaimed Caliphate named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. His original tactics were to control the land mass of the middle-east. That is, he would start from one end of a country and control the land mass as they advanced. These are the same tactics that were used during WWII by all the axis powers.

However, our air strikes along with coalition forces have denied them the control of land mass. So now they have changed their tactics to much like al-Qaeda. Where they use guerrilla tactics, attacking at night and hiding among the civilians during the day. Of course this makes it much more difficult to route them out without creating collateral damage.

Where does ISIS get its Money?

The way ISIS is funded creates many ironies.

  • ISiS has taken over oil fields in Eastern Syria and is currently pumping oil that it sells on the open market.
  • The Syrian government buys electricity from power plants that have been taken over by ISIS. even though its goal is to destroy the Syrian government.
  • ISIS confiscates money from Christians and Muslims it doesn't like.
  • Their goal is to destroy the Syrian state and become the tax collectors to take over their revenue stream.

A point of Interest. ISIS was said to have robbed over 400 Million from Mosul banks. From everything I have read, this was a rumor started by Ahmed Chalibi. He is the Shia from Iraq that Saddam exiled. He came to the U.S. and stated that Saddam Hussien had weapons of mass destruction. This was the impetus that gave us the justification to invade Iraq. But that's another story!

Source

Who Replaced Nouri al Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq?

Haider Al-Abadi, a Shia, has replaced Nouri al Maliki as the new Prime Minister of Iraq. He was designated by President Fuad Masum on August 11, 2014 and was approved on September 8, 2014 by the Iraqi parliament to succeed Noure al-Maliki.

The question is will Al-Abadi be able to form an inclusive government? Inclusive government is an euphemism used by the west for bringing the Sunni's Shia's, and Kurd's under control of one government, with the end game being their government would be a democracy.

Update: 3/25/2016 Bashar Al Assad and Putin

Bashar Al Assad the President of Syria and his followers are Alawites, which is a sect of the Shia religion.Their enemy is the Shiites that live in Syria. Several months ago, President Putin brought in his military to fight the Shia and Sunni and to protect the Bashar Al Assad's regime. He did this under the pretense of attacking ISIS. However, instead he attacked the rebel groups comprising Shia and Sunnis and never attacked ISIS. Recently he removed most of his military from Syria, claiming his mission had been accomplished. But he left his command and control system and air defense system in Syria intact, just in case anybody else including the U.S. would attack Bashar Al Assad's regime.

Conclusion

  • ISIS wants to take the mid-east back to the days of the Ottoman Empire, to the time when the region was led by a Caliphate. They are very good at propaganda. They even use be-headings and most recently burning people to death to create fear in all that view such atrocities. And they are very successful about recruiting new members.
  • The U.S. and its allies want to convert the people who live in the mid-east into a democracy. I've heard politicians state that all we have to do is "democratize" them and all will be well. And then we can all live happily ever after! That's not going to happen. The west has not learned their lesson. They think they can go into a country that is governed by a theocracy and convert its people to a democracy. In other words an all inclusive government.
  • Air-strikes will work for a while, but Arabs are very smart people. They know how to use "force multipliers" as weapons of fear. Every time they enter our country and try to terrorize us we lose a little bit more of our freedom. They used the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the toner cartridge bomber and now they are talking about using toothpaste and clothing material dipped in explosive substance as non-detectable bombs. Are we going to have to board a plane in our birthday suites? The point I'm trying to make is they use just one person that does not even have to be successful in blowing up things, but just the attempt is enough to scare millions of people into losing more of their freedoms. That is a force multiplier.
  • How long do you think we can hold out before we have to put boots on the ground.? This is what the world wants to know. They say one definition of insanity is doing the same thing many times and expecting a different outcome.
  • Should they be called ISIS, ISIL , or Sunni Extremist? I vote for Sunni extremist. It is a much more descriptive name for them. The I in ISIS ad ISIL stands for Islam, but they do not make up or represent the entire nation of Islam. They are only a part of it. However their goal is to become a world wide movement and they are doing a good job of terrorizing other countries throughout the world. Because of their propaganda, they are successful at recruiting from other nations and religions, even the United States.
  • The media should stop calling them ISIS/ ISIL and call them what they really are: disenfranchised Sunni terrorists extremists. People should understand that Iran is mainly made up of Shiites who are fighting these Sunni's. We should stop looking at them as coming from specific countries. The Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds are all religious sects that do not have an allegiance to a specific country but to their form of religion, no matter what country or region they are from.
  • Currently, the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran about limiting their nuclear operations. However many politicians are stating that we should not be negotiating with them because they are threat to their neighbors. Their neighbors being Israel. However Iran is made up of primarily Shia who are fighting ISIL (Sunni's) in Iraq. In other words, they are helping to remove ISIS from Iraq. Why would this administration want to jeopardize this situation if it benefits us?

Before you read this article, did you know that ISIS was made up of members of the Sunni Sect?

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Before you read this article, did you know what a Caliphate was?

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Do you think the west will ever be able to democratize the Mid-East?

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Do you think we will ever have to put boots on the ground to stop ISIS?

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Do you think if the West was not dependent on oil, these conflicts would exists?

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In your opinion, why are wars fought?

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Thanks for stopping by. I hope this article has shed some light on what ISIS is, where they came from and what their goals are.

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    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is a very interesting and informative hub about ISIS and ISIL. Good explanation and you have clearly identified each group of people involved in the conflict/war in Syria and Iraq. They are tribal people and I don't think they will embrace democracy. I think Iraq should be divided into three sections each tribe can have and control. The Shia and Sunni's have been fighting for centuries. When Saddam Hussein was taken out by the U.S. the fighting between the tribes began all over again. A democratic form of government cannot be forced on the Iraqi's-they have to want it. Your explanation here is easy to follow and understand. Great job!

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Thank you suzette: It'a always great to hear from you. i agree with you. I think we should let them have their civil war on their own terms.

    • Prakash Dighe profile image

      Prakash Dighe 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas, USA

      Very interesting and informative hub. I now have a much better perspective of the region and its people. I always felt a democratic form of Government cannot be forced upon the people in that region. For long have those people been in conflict with each other, and it's difficult to visualize them settling down in peace in the foreseeable future. We need to gradually reduce our involvement in that region: a task that would be made considerably easier by our reducing our dependence on oil. Great hub!

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Prakash Dighe: Thank you for dropping by. I read an article today that stated what the U.S. is doing with air-strikes is like kicking a hornet's nest. Oil is a finite commodity and someday it will be depleted.

    • junko profile image

      junko 2 years ago

      The Partition of the Middle East after WW l upset the balance of Human Nature and we can't put the Jenie back in the bottle after the bottle is broken. Good light you shined on who and why ISSI.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Hey junko, thank you for stopping by. Between the two of us, I think we are putting many pieces of this puzzle together. You are right, we can't put the genie back in the bottle. But as Confucius said "Sometimes to do nothing is to do everything." I think we should get out there and let them fight it out, as sad and as dire as that seems.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great article as always. You should just email this to every high school in the country. The one thing that the current ISIS/Mideast crisis has done is to increase the respect for Bush 41 (G.H.W. Bush). He knew what would happen if the borders frayed and sectarian violence was allowed to get out of control. If only his son had not been so blind. Voted up.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
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      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      lions44: Bush 41 and Cheney both knew. That's why in Persian Gulf 1, they didn't take Saddam Hussein out. Thanks for stopping by and the comments and the vote.

    • maxoxam41 profile image

      Deforest 2 years ago from USA

      What you forgot to say is that behind this religious imbroglio, behind our democratic narratives hides the US financial, logistical, military hand.

      When you say that the Syrian government buys oil from those fanatics don't you think that it is paradoxical? Why would Assad buy oil from its VERY enemies? Why would Assad buy oil whereas he has oil in his land?

      Don't you think that it would make more sense that WE buy this stolen oil? We installed those thugs and I guess it had a price. Didn't we ALWAYS covert middle-eastern oil? Here it is...

      As for Iraqi former president Nouri we ousted him because he wanted to develop a partnership with Russia, China and Iran.

      I can't say that you did a great job.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      maxoxam41: Thanks for your comments and your judgement.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Outstanding hub. In retrospect the elder Bush was extremely wise in keeping Saddam in power, because there certainly has been destabilization since Bush the younger opened up Pandora's box.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Mel Carriere: That's for sure, Bush the elder and Cheney both knew the ramifications of regime change and taking apart Iraq. Thanks for the comments and dropping by.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      This is the best article I have read about the middle-East. You have explained everything clearly. Instead of spending billions on wars for oil, we could spend that money on alternative clean energy. The Iraq wars (especially the second) will have negative consequences for the whole world for generations.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      CatherineGiordano: I agree with you. We should be spending that money at home, especially for education. I think the defense contractors are the ones who are the winners in these conflicts. Thanks for your comments and dropping by.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I had previously written on why some are attracted to join ISIS/ISIL, but the definition of the Levant was not included, and I think this adds to our perspective and knowledge. Fine presentation, and the polling was of interest. Thanks.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Perspycacious: Thank you so much for dropping by and your comments. Yes, I think between the two articles, it gives readers a better view of what is going on with ISIS/ISIL.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Last night on PBS I watched a wonderful program on Islam's Hajj by Feiler about a group of pilgrims from Boston going on the Hajj.

      PBS has a number of good documentaries on Islam for those, like us, who want to better understand its beliefs and practices. I learned a lot,

      One of HP's Hubbers (m abdullah javed) wrote a fine Hub on Jesus and Mary as viewed by Islam that I found informative.

      The devout pursuits of Islam's believers making the Hajj is a worthy example to Christians of what dedication to one's faith can mean to a believer. We can learn from that and apply it to our own lives as active followers of Christ.

      Islam. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and all the world's believers in righteous living and the Golden Rule still have essential roles to play in making the world a better, more peaceful place for all people.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
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      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Perspycacious: I'll look for that program on PBS. I agree with your last sentence. However, it is those that interpret scriptures of their religion to justify the killing of others that causes the problems. That is what is going on in the middle east right now. But I believe below the surface it really is about economics. Thanks for the comments.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 2 years ago from Uruguay

      It was a big mistake to invade Irak and remove Saddam Hussein from power.There is a reason why Bush 41 didn't remove him ,and that was because unlike his son W. he did have knowledge of geopolitics,and knew what tragic consequences the removal of Saddam would have.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      PP73

      A very well done and informative hub, one that would rival text books.

      This problem is rooted in religion, and it was there way before the Crusades.

      It is ironic that these religions have no God that will end their religious conflicts. Mohammad was a self proclaimed prophet who couldn't even see anything that would happen after his death. Had he informed his followers who shall lead them after his death, their would not have been an Islamic split. At least not from that reason, but as we saw how the Catholic Church was riddled with men that wanted their own control of their God, Jesus they formed their own version of religion.

      And like the Shiites and the Sunnis, the Protestants and the Catholics fought a deadly embrace in Ireland.

      President George H Bush was right about Saddam Hussein he kept the country together through his tyranny. This also worked for the USSR in their Republic. They knew that religion was powerful and they sought to remove that power. They like Saddam were effective in keeping the religion at bay. Then when the Berlin Wall went down along with the USSR, the Muslims reanimated themselves and the religious wars took over once again.

      The United States hasn't really won a war since the Revolutionary War, they have won many battles, but these are not the war.

      We didn't win WWI because we allowed the making that would be WWII. We won the military victory over Japan and Germany but we let Russia enslave the same counties that Germany took over in Eastern Europe. That is by no means a war victory. It also led to the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These were not constitutionally authorized wars, as Congress never declared them wars. We lost these wars, and today these countries are still theats to world peace.

      We never went into Desert Storm to win, and this like WWI would force us to return to do it over again. In all three of these wars we won military victor, something we failed in Korea, and Vietnam.

      The military victory failed to win the wars, and now we are totally at a loss to contain the current and future threats to world peace.

      In most if not all of these wars, the military tried to do their jobs, but the politicians worked against them. That is what we are seeing in the Middle East today.

      Vietnam was totally lost because the politicians didn't take it seriously, and the American people didn't care what was happening across the world. The politicians tried to win votes and keep their jobs, while Americans were dying because of their failure to want to win a war.

      They also failed to declare it as a war. They held a tight grip on the financial purse strings and that hampered the troops. It was really a war against China and Russia, with Vietnam as the pawn.

      The Russians failed in Afghanistan, and then we are failing in Afghanistan. The French failed in Vietnam and then we failed in Vietnam.

      England failed in the Crusades, and now we are failing in the Middle East.

      The point is that in the Revolutionary War the politicians were the military and they worked together against their enemy. These fighters then formed the United States of America, and they and their wisdom to win a war has been long gone. In the last one hundred years the Us has been littered with their own Sunnis and Shia conflict, in our case it is the democrats and the republicans that can play together. United we stand, and divided we fall, and we have been falling for a very long time.

      We need to only go into a WAR when our goal is to WIN, and win both the battle and the war. This is something that we haven't done because of the divergent goals of the democrats and the republicans.

      911 was an example of this problem. 911 was an ideological twin of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. The difference was that during WWII the country united to a common threat, but after 911, it looked more like the Vietnam War, and it continues to look like still.

      The problem today is worse than that of WWII, because today the Muslims are getting into the infrastructure of the countries and using their own freedoms, and constitutions to change the political landscape.

      So it is not only military, and terrorism that are the tools of the bad guys today, as they are also using our own constitution against us.

      It is much like the viruses that attack our brain and bodies and hide in plain sight from our defenders. They look like friendlies but that is just a veneer and we have been incapable of getting our defender to see beyond the veneer.

      Thanks

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      bradmasterOCcal: Thank you so much for your very comprehensive comments. The question now is even if we defeat ISIS, what happens next? The people in the region are not happy with the way their countries were carved up by the British and the French after WWI. I doubt very seriously, they will redraw the maps based on common cultural and religious beliefs. I think we should get out of the region and let them fight their own three-way civil war.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      mio cid: Thank you so much for your comments. I think you are right about the difference between Bush 1 and Bush 2. It begs the question, what have we accomplished by invading the mid-east?

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 2 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is very interesting. I learned many things here that I did not understand before. Thank you for the clarification of so many things.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      This Hub will have a long life, so go back and proofread it once more, even the poll questions, to tidy it up for the long hau, especially the last two paragraphs before the poll questions. ("a weapons, democrotize, Caliphte, exists, etc.)

    • peoplepower73 profile image
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      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      sgbrown:

      I'm glad I could clarify some things for your. Thanks for dropping by.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Perspycacious: I made the changes. However, the poll responses get set back to zero. But that's O.K. Thanks for catching those typos. It always great to have someone like you proofread my stuff. Have a great day.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      I was using Muslim and Islam improperly. Islam is a religion. Muslims are the people who practice that religion. I changed the phrase "Muslim world" to Islam. This is why Obama says we are not at war with Islam. If we were, we would be at war with all Muslim people. And that is certainly not the case.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      You certainly did shed light for me. I never really understood the basics but thanks to you I have a working knowledge.

      Unfortunately boots on the ground is the only way to put an end to this constant terror.

      Thank you for all the information.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Mike...Thanks so much for the education. I appreciate your time spent in research and in explaining so thoroughly. These are facts important for us to become familiar with, and unfortunately, to pay close attention to the activities of these groups of terrorist savages.

      Can this perpetual war ever come to a close? This seems very doubtful.

      Very interesting read, Mike, again, thank you..UP+++

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      tillsontitan: Thanks for reading the hub. I'm so frustrated by watching the media and the President tap dance around the root cause of this conflict. In my view, almost everyone needs to have a better understanding of this situation. Please share this with others. Two days ago I sent this to the President. Thanks for the votes and ratings.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      fpherj48: I'm glad I could shed some light on this for you. Their movement needs to be put into perspective. I find myself yelling at the T.V. when I watch the news, because the "talking heads" are just skirting around the real issue. I sent this article to the President. I don't know if it will be read, but it made me feel better. Thanks for stopping by and the votes. Please share this with others.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks for the great info. What I fail to understand is how a group of 40,000 ISIS fighters can over come the Iraqi army in such a short time. This is after years of training and supplies and money and blood we invested there. How is this possible? Is there something basically wrong with our military strategy? Have we been fooling ourselves believing in offering the Iraqi people a new chance would change the balance of power there? How did we succeed in Japan and Germany after WWII and fail so badly in Iraq? Very troubling...

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      jackclee lm: It's very simple. During WWI and WWII. The job of the invading military was to control land mass. That is, they would start from one end of a country and control the land mass as they advanced forward. In the mid-east, we have never controlled the land mass, but ISIS is trying to do that today. As my article states, there is a civil war in the mid-east and we have no business being involved in it. Thanks for dropping by. Pleas share this article with others.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      For anyone taking ISIS/ISIL seriously, it would be well to get the latest issue of "Atlantic" (March 2015) and read a definitive article on the goals and strategy of the militant, terrorists' objectives and claim to religious authority. The article is superbly done.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Perspycacious: Does that mean my article is not serious and definitive enough? Thanks for dropping by.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Not at all. I wanted a way to alert you and others to the "Atlantic" article as additional information on an enemy even our government admits it poorly understands. The better we understand the stakes and their implications, the better we will all be at fashioning solutions for what we must wrestle with.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      O.K. Thanks again for your comments. I'll read the article.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 2 years ago from Uruguay

      Very well written ,accurate and informative hub .There is always something to be learned from reading your hubs .

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Thank you mio cid. I told my wife about your flan recipe. We are going to have to try it. Thanks for dropping by and your comments.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Mike.....I thought you & your readers may find this as interesting as I did:

      I watched a video this past week and heard a FORMER Muslim speak to a group of authors, Theologians & Professors. He was a very educated and dignified, extremely well-spoken young man.

      He brought up the fact that such emphasis is placed on Non-Muslims to recognize the distinct difference between radical Islamist Extremists and the Moderate Muslim.

      In a very somber tone with total sincerity on his face, he said to his audience, "Listen carefully my friends, the radical Islamist Extremists want to KILL all non-Muslims ("infidels"). The moderates want the Extremists to kill all infidels."

      There was a long pause of silence and a look of instant enlightenment on every face in the crowd.

      Powerful and TRUE statement.

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      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      fpherj48: That's scary stuff, if that's the way moderates really feel. Thanks for your comments.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Mike....I don't easily fall for propaganda. I have a strong tendency to believe a sincere, intelligent adult who has committed his time & energy to explaining and describing his very own life-long experiences within the Religion's Ideology and knowing the people so intimately as well as every single word of their alleged holy book, the Koran.

      People like this speaker have little to gain and realistically have placed their lives in danger. I have to listen and respect what he is sharing. I've heard this numerous times and by remaining silent or shrinking away in fear, the moderates are unwittingly telling us what they really believe.

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      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      Is there a video or documentation of that event?

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Mike.....I can take the time to try to find it. It was one of those things I stumbled upon while researching a topic. I never thought to copy it or save it, but I will try to relocate it for you. Paula

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      Mike Russo 15 months ago from Placentia California

      I have updated this article to include the relationship between President Bashar Al Asaad of Syria and President Putin of Russia

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      Kiran 15 months ago from Pakistan

      Very Descriptive

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      Daniel Gottlob 15 months ago from Texas

      Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing. In my mind, I see only two outcomes with any sort of finality. One one end as you mentioned, external forces could withdraw and leave the nations to their civil wars. This will be extremely bloody, as it has been, but hopefully it will lead to its own conclusion and some stability to take its place there after.

      I think alternatively, you are looking at a long military occupation (decades) with Marshall Plan like elements from various external parties. This will also result in bloodshed and further complicates the players within the conflict and the span but maybe in the end the result is something less repulsive from a Utilitarian standpoint and prevents outcomes closer to genocide. Overall, some sort of stability would have to be imposed and significant relief must be felt to "speed up a climax" of the conflicts and lay the foundation for some stability. Granted, one key variable that I am uncertain about is which route has the most staying power for stabilization.

      The issue with the second option (extensive external involvement), is that it is really easy to mess it up and end up exactly back at scenario one (civil wars) but with further complications and entanglement as well as stoking the flames for overseas terrorism. Plus, the UN and Russia and enforceable parties in the Middle East will need to agree to a strategy, invest in that strategy, and keep to it; which is a whole other can of worms. Ultimately that strategy may not be democratic but it may be stable.

      What worries me, is the passive aggressive approach of the intervening external parties. Providing disenfranchised parties (Kurds and etc) with weapons to fight common enemies without an agreed end game feels like a recipe for disaster (swallowing a spider to catch the fly). Regardless, of whether their views of each faction is right/wrong/indifferent, they are there and until there is a cohesive strategy and consolidation of alliances all we are doing is fanning an existent civil war but enabling the different groups to kill each other with greater proficiency.

      I think likely the UN is going to end up with boots on the ground. The terrorist attacks will continue to stir up calls for action throughout each of the nations. I am just hoping that something constructive emerges from it and it does not make things worse than they currently are.

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      Mike Russo 15 months ago from Placentia California

      Thanks for dropping by. I'm honored to have someone from Pakistan to read my article.

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      Mike Russo 15 months ago from Placentia California

      Daniel Gottlob: Thank you for your very comprehensive comments. I think ISIS' dream is to have us put boots on the ground and have us fight them on their terms. That's why they keep taunting us. They would love to get us into another long term ground war. I think Obama is playing it smart by using special forces snipers to take out their top people one at a time. Snipers can have a real psychological effect.

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      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 6 months ago from Fontana

      I just saw thisPeople. Very informative! I got confused on the maps but when you started talking about ISIS I followed you. Do you think Shias and Kurds would get along if not for Sunnis?

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      Mike Russo 6 months ago from Placentia California

      Hi Diane: I think they all hate each other, but so much of it has to do with territory. I think to westerners, their difference are minor, but to their religious sects, they are major. The Kurds are a mixture of many religious beliefs. Some are even Christian. I don't know if they would get along with the Sunnis. Thanks for dropping by.

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      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 6 months ago from Fontana

      Your hubs are informative and enjoyable. Your comments are intelligent and meaningful. I was in Placentia doing a mystery shop last Saturday. The shop was Bank of America. Then I went to Ross' at the shopping center across the street.

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      Mike Russo 6 months ago from Placentia California

      Thank you Diane: I love Placentia. It is a neat little town. What is a mystery shop? Let me know by Hub Pages email the next time you are in town and maybe my wife and I can meet you some place.

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      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 6 months ago from Fontana

      A check on the quality of service. At banks I apply for a loan to see if employee follows a script. Ok. I'd love to meet you and your wife. I may never ben in your area again. I'm actually annoyed with the MS. They paid better back in the 90s.

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      Mike Russo 6 months ago from Placentia California

      O.K.

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