The Ignored Threat of Isis
This article is not about the wrongs and rights of the Israel /Palestine situation but the lack of media focus on Islamist terrorism in the Middle East. Recently we have seen Boko Haram in Nigeria, responsible for the kidnap of 200 innocent schoolgirls. Then there is the presence of Al Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, Al -Qaeda in Libya, and Al -Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Most of these disparate Islamist groups are mainly involved in promoting their own interests in the countries or lands they exist. But ISIS is a different threat altogether. They want to create an Islamic caliphate, destroy the West, Israel and implement Sharia law in these lands. ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and are a group of Sunni-extremists that have mushroomed in the aftermath of the withdrawal of US and British troops and brutally challenged the Shiite political dominance in the area.
We in the West ought to wake up to the reality of the threat of groups such as ISIS, who are Jihadists who want global Islamification. Their methods are brutal as has been shown in their slick self-promotion on social media as they commandeer Iraq and Syria but the threat is more pertinent to the rest of the world, as many of these Jihadists are from Europe and Australia.The Jihadist network is proving to be sophisticated using social media to reach out and recruit radicalised young Muslim men, who reject the tolerance, freedom and principles of their countries of settlement, to fight for Allah. For Western governments, it should be a huge concern that the consequences of the probable eventual return home of foreign fighters attracted by ISIS, will create further terror threats in their lands. For example, England and Wales is home to 1.8 million Muslims. In 20 years time this population will no doubt increase and the failure of some Muslims to assimilate with the rest of the population, who they believe are unclean pagans, will cause many problems. Britain is a multi -ethnic population that has been a place of political, economic and religious refuge for many other cultures and races but none threatens the national status quo as much as Islamic radicals. This year, there has been the exposure of Islamic indoctrination and intimidation in British schools. Britain, a notoriously tolerant society, has also managed to produce home-grown terrorists such as Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and Sabib Hussain, who plotted the 2005 London Underground terrorist bomb attack that killed 52 innocent people.
In France, another European country with a sizeable Muslim population, Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French Muslim carried out a deadly shooting on a Jewish museum in Belgium last month after spending a year fighting with ISIS in Syria.The Soufan Group, a New York-based consultancy, estimates that 12,000 foreign fighters have travelled to Syria, including 3,000 from the West.
ISIS are recruiting Islamic fanatics from all over the world and taking the terror campaign to create an Islamic caliphate to horrifying new levels. In June 2014, The Jerusalem Post reported:
“They [ISIS] make al-Qaeda look almost tame in comparison and their actions which they take great delight in posting on social media in all its gory glory reveals their sinister message to the world, that as a terrorist group they are ruthless and inhumane..under the leadership of its caliph, Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”.
ISIS Terror in the Middle East
The terror techniques ISIS have used in order to make considerable advancements in north-eastern Syria and Iraq, are truly horrific. The question is how does the West fight a war with people capable of such inhumanity? How does someone fight a war with people who think that death, fighting in the name of Allah, is a glorious and honourable price to pay, an immovable viewpoint that is incongruous to the value that Jews and Westerners’ put on a human life? The recent graphic display of ISIS’ “triumphs” on social media show an apparent massacre of dozens of Iraqis is truly shocking. That ISIS slaughtered over 1,700 Iraqi military men in one afternoon shows the kind of destruction they’re capable of.
Even further, ISIS has shown no mercy for Sunnis that don’t wish to join them, slaughtering them en masse as they see fit in the name of the oppressive Sharia Law.
In Syria, the Sunni extremists celebrated their victory over the 17th division of the Syrian national army by beheading many of their prisoners and parading their severed heads around Raqqa. Before, the militant group ISIS took control of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul and declared their leader Al-Baghdadi to be the new Caliph- the leader of all Muslims around the globe. Many Muslims in the Middle East have shunned the group, leaving ISIS without legitimacy within Iraq and outside it but the brutality that they are capable of, may override their legitimacy and ability to govern. It is a sad reality that a war declared on ISIS by anyone will be fruitless and destructive; peacemaking negotiations will be pointless. Members of ISIS who continue to control the fate of 39 Indian workers abducted from Mosul in June are not open to any negotiations for their release.
“There is no direct contact with the insurgents and they don’t want to engage in any talks yet,’’ stated Iraqi Red Crescent Society president Yaseen Abbass.
ISIS’s attempt to declare themselves leaders of the Muslim world and the sectarian violence they have unleashed is worrying, but the atrocities they are carrying out against Mosul’s Christian population in the name of Islam is also concerning, in that firstly, that tolerance is an anathema to Jihadists and secondly, we in the West never hear of the plight of these Christians, but are bombarded with images of death, destruction and displacement of people in Palestine, a country that is given a lot of foreign aid despite being governed by a terrorist group.
Iraqi Christians have left the city of Mosul in their thousands, becoming homeless or living as refugees after ISIS gave them an ultimatum – convert to Islam, pay a special tax, or face the death penalty. A city with one of the oldest Christian communities in the world has dwindled to a few who now face horrendous persecution from a militant group claiming to speak for Islam.
The persecution of Christians shows not only another example of ISIS savagery, but also belies the fact that Muslims have co-existed peacefully with Christians in Mosul and elsewhere for centuries. The Kurds in Iraq have also been attacked by ISIS who have seized control of majority Kurdish towns and territory that includes an oilfield and access to the Mosul dam. Dozens of Kurdish peshmerga fighters were reportedly killed.
ISIS also briefly captured the Al-Shaar gas field in Homs province, killing at least 200 Syrian army soldiers before it was recaptured by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Isis was against the controversial government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a government Barack Obama supported and coordinated attacks started almost immediately coming from both sides.
Since the insurgence of the ISIS terror campaign there has been the slaughter of 1000s. It puts the Israeli/Palestine war in perspective, but still that dominates the Western media not the juggernaut that is ISIS. But for those in the West who have denounced Israel in their fight against Hamas, ISIS recently released the provocative statement on an Isis-affiliated Twitter account.
"It is only matter of time and patience before it [Islamic State] reaches Palestine to fight the barbaric Jews and kill those of them hiding behind the gharqad trees - the trees of the Jews," the statement read.
The group said it would do "everything within its means" to continue the fight against any obstacle on the way to "Palestine", alluding to the Middle Eastern territory before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Don't forget that Israel is the only democratic and progressive country in the Middle East that truly protects its civilians from the horrors of terrorism.
What is ISIS?
ISIS, is a militant group born in Iraq so hard-line that it was even disavowed by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Arab of Jordanian descent, who first launched the organisation. He called for ISIS to leave Syria and return to Iraq. ISIS leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and under his rule, the Islamic State has become one of the most formidable Jihadist groups in the world
Al-Baghdadi, helped created Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ) - the Army of the Sunni People Group - which operated in Samarra, Diyala, and Baghdad.and he was detained by the US in 2004. He was released from a US prison by President Obama in 2009, on the grounds that he posed no threat to international security. His stated aims are to target Shiites who had managed to flourish in the contentious sectarian tensions during the occupation of American/British troops from 2003-2011.and to implement a systematic approach for global domination by creating an Islamic Caliphate comprising of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and possibly Gaza which will springboard to an eventual global Muslim empire including parts of Europe and China. Non-Muslims, such as Christians, Jews and Shia Muslims will be either forced to convert to Sunni-Islam or be killed. Al-Baghdadi promotes the idea that he is a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed and is the true Islamic Caliph.
An ISIS spokesman for the group, Nidal Nuseiri said that the strategy of ISIS is to politically and economically weaken the US. This will be achieved by attacks on the American mainland, as well as US interests in Muslim countries. Because the US is Israel’s greatest ally, once weakened, ISIS can begin the conquest of “Bayt el-Maqdis” (Jerusalem) and the destruction of the disempowered State of Israel will take place.They see it is as a ‘holy war.’ the central justification of the Islamic mindset.
Why is ISIS so Powerful?
ISIS have accrued staggering finances. Before Mosul’s fall, ISIS’ total cash and assets came to US$875m (£515m) mainly coming from huge cash flows from oil fields in eastern Syria, which it commandeered in late 2012, as well as from smuggling, extortion, and other crimes.
After the capture of Mosul, ISIS’s total assets, considering the banks and military supplies they captured, are estimated to be US$2 billion or more, ISIS supporters in the Middle East, mostly Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran have also provided the group with additional funding.
ISIS and Social Media
ISIS know that promoting their campaign of terror is powerful. It spurs on western Jihadists and horrifies the rest of the populations in the West and in Australia including moderate Muslims. Because of the questionable rules of freedom of speech, social networking sites such as Twitter say it is powerless to stop the horrifying posts.
Disturbing pictures have generated in the media originally from Twitter, of a smiling Australian Muslim Mohamed Elomar holding up two decapitated heads for the camera in Syria.
The psychological warfare via sophisticated and well-produced social media such as Twitter and YouTube include Islamist militants in Iraq celebrating Eid by releasing a video showing scenes of them carrying out genocide.
The footage shows prisoners being rounded up and executed, suicide bombers boasting before blowing up buildings and Iraqis being gunned down in drive-by shootings. In one of the most sickening scenes, terrified prisoners are piled into the back of trucks, where they hold each other and huddle in fear before driven off to their deaths.
The 36-minute film then cuts to dozens of prisoners lying face down on the ground, hands bound behind their backs, waiting to be executed. Stories abound of harsh punishments imposed for the slightest of offences such as smoking, of women being confined to the home and forced to wear the hijab, of Christian women and young girls being raped, of public crucifixions, of kidnappings and extortionate levies imposed on businesses
How did all this start?
First of all, US-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent eight year occupation is a massive factor that many blame for the rise of hard line terrorism in the Middle East. America, supported by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, opened a can of worms first by toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the false pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction and have further compounded problems in the area by on the one hand openly supporting the Iraqi Shiite government, but whose military involvement in Iraq have indirectly funded, trained and armed ISIS at the same time.
We have then, post- Bush “War on terror” government, US President Barack Obama’s decision to release Islamic Jihadists, including five top Taliban leaders, who are now free to fight the US again. These prisoners were released in exchange for one American deserter.
After the withdrawal of the US and British forces in 2011, the Sunnis of Iraq felt marginalized by Iraq's Prime Minister Nour al-Malaki’s Shiite-dominated government, whose forceful actions alienated them so much they began protesting for reforms in Anbar province in December 2012. Iraq’s security forces killed 38 anti-government insurgents in April 2013, while car bombings and suicide attacks cases organized by the Sunnis, were becoming more and more frequent. Nearly 8000 civilians were left dead and an additional 17,891 were injured during the burgeoning violence in 2013, making it Iraq's bloodiest year since 2008,which makes the Gazan-Israeli casualties pale in comparison, but invites less media coverage and international condemnation.
That, however, is recent history. Unfortunately conflict in the Middle East is nothing new. Muslims have traditionally been a conquering nation since Muhammad, and have combined warfare and a totalitarian adherence to the Muslim religious beliefs that has evolved into a sinister and oppressive ideology. The word Jihad did not appear in the Quran which was written in the seventh century, but justifications of a holy war were expanded during the ensuing Muslim conquests creating a sphere of Muslim influence over the years in northwest India, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula stretching to The Pyrenees until it's decline under the burgeoning British Empire in the nineteenth century.
The Indian Muslim Abu Ala Maududi (1903-1979) decried the loss of a Muslim golden age and the degradation of Muslim lands and stated that Muslim governments that did not implement stringent Islamic law as apostate and commanded true believers to wage Jihad against them. These seeds of modern Muslim ideology have recently been espoused by al-Qaeda and have flourished in other groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban and anti-Israeli movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas. So what were originally wars of conquests and wars between different Arab factions, and are now a globalised war spurred on by hatred of all the West stands for: that is the age we live in.