ISIS CRISIS

Why Europe and the United States Could be the Militant Group’s Next Target

(Bogdan Suditu / Flickr)

In January this year, U.S. President Barack Obama was asked to comment on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) takeover of the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Almost 100 U.S. troops had died fighting insurgents there a decade earlier, yet Obama’s reply was flippant: “if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” ISIS, in other words, was small bore — not the United States’ problem.Fast-forward six months. ISIS has taken over a stretch of territory the size of Jordan and subsequently declared it an Islamic caliphate. Its advances have helped it pick up more recruits, weapons, and money. Virtually overnight, it has gone from terrorist group to terrorist army. And it seems intent on tangling with the West. Earlier this year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, warned the United States, “soon we’ll be in direct confrontation,” continuing “watch out for us, for we are with you, watching.” This month, ISIS begun a Twitter campaign threatening to attack the United States.

Suddenly, Obama’s understanding of the situation in Iraq (as well as in West Africa and Syria) as “local power struggles,” as he remarked in January, looks naive at best and dangerously misguided at worst. Yet his scepticism about ISIS seems unchanged. In a June 22 interview with “Face the Nation,” Obama maintained that “there are a lot of groups out there that probably have more advanced immediate plans directed against the United States.” In other words, the “jayvee team” label has stuck.

That is a problem. ISIS — and its previous incarnations, al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) — is aggressive, expansionist, and poses a real danger. It might be focusing most of its attention on Iraq for now, but its long-term ambitions are much wider. For example, in a video released shortly after the fall of Mosul, a British jihadist proclaims that ISIS “understand no borders” and will fight “wherever our sheikh [Baghdadi] wants to send us.” He specifically cites Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria as targets.

And targets they are; the group has already attacked all of those countries over the last decade. In 2004, AQI Leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi helped create the Abdullah Azzam Brigade with the specific purpose of waging battle in the Levant and broader Middle East. In November 2005, AQI killed 57 in suicide attacks in Amman, Jordan. Six years later, Amman would be targeted again. This time, though, authorities disrupted the cell, which had received assistance from ISI to plan a series of attacks. In mid-2011, Mohammed al-Joulani, an ISI member, formed the al-Nusra Front (ANF), which fights the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and was established with funding by the ISI. And this year, ISIS carried out a string of operations in Lebanon. In June alone, it claimed credit for a car bomb attack in Beirut and two suicide bombings.

These are not the actions of a locally focused group. Rather, they are the actions of a group that, like al Qaeda before it, is looking to establish a base in the Levant from which to expand its influence throughout the whole region — and beyond. The real question, then, is where ISIS will go next. And unlike Obama, some European leaders are beginning worry. In a late June interview with Reuters, Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, said that it is “very likely that the ISIS … maybe is preparing, training, directing some of the foreign fighters to mount attacks in Europe, or outside Europe.” And in an address to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that “as well as trying to take territory,” radicals “are also planning to attack us here at home in the United Kingdom.”

And ISIS does have connections to previous attacks in Europe. In 2007, a British doctor who had fought in Iraq carried out a car bombing attack on Glasgow Airport. It later emerged that he and his accomplice, who had also planted car bombs in London’s West End, had the telephone numbers of ISI members on their cell phones. Counterterrorism officials called the Glasgow and London attacks “the closest collaboration” between ISI and Western fighters to date.

That record was overturned in 2010, when a captured senior ISI operative admitted to Iraqi forces that ISI was preparing to carry out an attack in the West at the end of the year. Later that year, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born militant, staged a suicide attack in Stockholm, Sweden. He is thought to have trained with ISI in Mosul for three months prior to the operation, and jihadist websites claimed he was affiliated with the group. Indeed, Abdaly’s attack was potentially inspired by — and dedicated to — ISI. In an audio message released after his death, he cited the Swedish artist Lars Vilks’ derogatory cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as a motivation for his actions. ISI had offered $150,000 to anyone who killed him. Unsurprisingly, ISI praised al-Abdaly’s subsequent suicide mission.

Another link between ISIS and Europe emerged in June 2013, when the Iraqi defense ministry announced that it had arrested members of a terror cell in Baghdad that had been attempting to manufacture chemical weapons to smuggle into Canada, the United States, and Europe. Then, in June 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen whom French intelligence agencies believe joined ISIS in Syria in 2012, shot and killed three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. His gun was found wrapped in an ISIS flag.

Whether ISIS directed or merely inspired these attacks, an alarming trend is emerging. Over the last decade, the Iraqi group carried out attacks in four countries in the Middle East and has been linked to three others in Europe. It has offered financial reward for the assassination of Europeans and allegedly planned to smuggle chemical weapons into the West.

Following its recent successes, ISIS is likely to attract hundreds of fresh recruits to its new safe haven in Iraq. The very thing that the U.S.-led coalition fought so hard against in Afghanistan, in other words, is emerging in Iraq. ISIS ambitions should not be believed to stop at the Iraqi and Syrian borders, and its links to attacks in Europe should not be taken lightly. Western governments have no option but to prepare for the time when this “jayvee team” starts having a lot more in common with the Lakers than many previously imagined.

Join the discussion…
  • I am amazed to find views expressed here, editorially speaking and commentaries contradict the world opinion. Those so called Muslim terrorists, do read English. Some even write in English. What’s the point in irritating them with partisan punditry?

    …and I am Sid Harth

  • Let’s check some other critics.

    More Evidence ‘al-Qaeda’

    Is A CIA-ISI Contrivance

    By Kurt Nimmo

    9-24-6

    Don’t expect our corporate media “op-ed” stenographers
    to deviate from their Pentagon and neocon generated scripts and connect
    the dots now that another in-your-face link between “al-Qaeda”
    terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism (one in the same) has surfaced.

    “Omar Khyam, an accused leader among seven men charged
    in 2004 with stockpiling half a ton of explosives in an Al Qaeda-linked
    bombing plot, took the stand Tuesday long enough to refuse to continue
    his testimony. The judge temporarily adjourned the trial, which began in
    March,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “On Monday, Khyam stunned
    his own lawyer when he declared that his relatives in Pakistan had been
    intimidated in recent days by agents of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence
    agency, which has a shadowy history of contacts with Islamic extremist
    networks.”

    No mention here of the “shadowy” fact the ISI
    is a branch office of the CIA. “A number of officers from the ISI’s
    Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action
    experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations
    against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalists
    of Pakistan and Arab volunteers,” writes B. Raman for the South Asia
    Analysis Group. These “Arab volunteers” and “Islamic fundamentalists,”
    of the most virulent strain (Saudi Wahhabism), are now known as “al-Qaeda,”
    a wily and phantasmal enemy specifically designed to serve as a forever
    enemy, an elusive Goldsteinesque enemy explicitly engineered to pose a
    threat in perpetuum.

    “Despite longtime allegations that Pakistani agents
    have trained Islamic militants and protected fugitive Al Qaeda leaders,
    Khyam’s testimony provided a rare account in a Western courtroom about
    the ISI’s role in militant training camps,” the Times continues. “His
    accusation also raised concerns that Pakistani intelligence officials might
    be seeking to disrupt a significant prosecution of alleged Islamic extremism
    in Europe.”

    Of course, this stands to reason, as “Islamic extremism,”
    long ago blueprinted on a CIA drawing board, has demonstrated its transcendent
    usefulness and must be protected at all cost. One miserable patsy will
    not get in the way and no doubt Omar Khyam’s family is now in danger, thanks
    to his detrimental revelation.

    “If the allegations about intimidation are true,
    they raise troubling implications for the trial and the other pending cases
    involving British suspects of Pakistani origin with alleged connections
    to terrorist networks in Pakistan-as well as family ties there.”

    According to Jane’s Information Group, the ISI “was
    modelled on Savak, the Iranian security agency, and like Savak was trained
    by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the SDECE, France’s external
    intelligence service.” SAVAK, according to Sam Ghandchi, who experienced
    the secret police’s brutality firsthand, specialized in shoving broken
    bottles in the rectums of political dissidents, murdering “pregnant
    activists, and all other forms of killing and rape.” SAVAK was a law
    unto itself, possessing the legal authority to arrest, detain, interrogate,
    and torture dissidents indefinitely. SAVAK operated its own prisons in
    Tehran, such as the Qezel-Qalaeh and Evin facilities. Because it operated
    autonomously, without checks and balances, it serves as a standard-bearer
    for secret police around the world.

    “Kashmir, along with Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
    Russian republic of Chechnya, is one of the battlegrounds that has provided
    a multinational flow of aspiring Islamic militants to Al Qaeda and its
    allies,” the Times reports, once again neglecting to connect the dots.

    For instance, as Michel Chossudovsky notes, the “Bosnian
    pattern,” as described in a Republican Party Committee congressional
    report published in 1997, “was replicated in Kosovo” with “the
    complicity of NATO and the US State Department. Mujahideen mercenaries
    [recruited, trained, and financed by the CIA and ISI] from the Middle East
    and Central Asia were recruited to fight in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation
    Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO’s war effort. Confirmed
    by British military sources, the task of arming and training of the KLA
    had been entrusted in 1998 to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
    and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services MI6, together with ‘former and
    serving members of 22 SAS [Britain's 22nd Special Air Services Regiment],
    as well as three British and American private security companies.”
    This pattern was also put to work in Macedonia and Chechnya.

    Omar Khyam has revealed but another glimmer of the precise
    nature of the “al-Qaeda” terror network, information useful for
    connecting dots but that will of course be studiously ignored by our corporate
    media stenographers. “Khyam has revealed more information than was
    expected,” remarked Sajjan Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, billed
    as a counter-terrorism think tank. “He has given a lot of insight
    into how very many British Muslims have been recruited. I think everyone
    was shocked. The question now is whether the whole truth will come out.”

    Of course, it does not matter if “the whole truth
    will come out,” as it is irrelevant, especially for a society unable
    to connect the dots and, really, not wanting to connect the dots and learn
    the truth, as this particular truth interupts sit-coms and football games.

    For every person who looks beyond the official story
    and gleans the indisputable truth about “al-Qaeda” and various
    other intelligence contrivances engineered by the Pentagon, CIA, MI-6,
    Mossad, et al, there are literally millions of people who buy into the
    official explanation, or rather Brothers Grimm machination-the Muslims,
    represented by the dead Osama and al-Zarqawi, are out to get us and an
    incessant “clash of civilizations” is required, with attendant
    police state and tyranny at home.

    Indeed, the “whole truth,” according to our
    neocon rulers, is nothing less than base “appeasement” of “bad
    guys,” those who wish us harm. Soon enough, especially after the imminent
    shock and awe of Iran, espousing the truth will result in Gestapo door
    knocks-with battering rams manned by ninja-clad thugs tossing stun grenades-at
    three in the morning, thus shuffling “fifth columnists,” as Sen.
    Lindsey Graham would likely describe the readers of this blog, off to Rex
    84 camps where waterboarding and secret military tribunals are the order
    of the day.

    …and I am Sid Harth

  • Let’s be fair.

    “CIA worked with Pakistan to create Taliban”

    LONDON: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worked in tandem with Pakistan to create the “monster” that is today Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, a leading US expert on South Asia said here. “I warned them that we were creating a monster,” Selig Harrison from the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars said at the
    conference here last week on “Terrorism and Regional Security: Managing the Challenges in Asia.”
    Harrison said: “The CIA made a historic mistake in encouraging Islamic groups from all over the world to come to Afghanistan.” The US provided $3 billion for building up these Islamic groups, and it accepted Pakistan’s demand that they should decide
    how this money should be spent, Harrison said.
    Harrison, who spoke before the Taliban assault on the Buddha statues was launched, told the gathering of security experts that he had meetings with CIA leaders at the time when Islamic forces were being strengthened in Afghanistan. “They told me these people were fanatical, and the more fierce they were the more fiercely they would fight the Soviets,” he said. “I warned them that we were creating a monster.”
    Harrison, who has written five books on Asian affairs and US relations with Asia, has had extensive contact with the CIA and political leaders in South Asia. Harrison was a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace between 1974
    and 1996.
    Harrison who is now senior fellow with The Century Foundation recalled a conversation he had with the late Gen Zia-ul Haq of Pakistan. “Gen Zia spoke to me about expanding Pakistan’s sphere of influence to control Afghanistan, then Uzbekistan and Tajikstan and then Iran and Turkey,” Harrison said. That design continues, he said. Gen.Mohammed Aziz who was involved in that Zia plan has been elevated now to a key position by Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf,
    Harrison said.
    The old associations between the intelligence agencies continue, Harrison said. “The
    CIA still has close links with the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence).”
    Today that money and those weapons have helped build up the Taliban, Harrison said. “The Taliban are not just recruits from ‘madrassas’ (Muslim theological schools) but are on the payroll of the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence, the intelligence wing of the Pakistani government).” The Taliban are now “making a living out of terrorism.”
    Harrison said the UN Security Council resolution number 1333 calls for an embargo on arms to the Taliban. “But it is a resolution without teeth because it does not provide sanctions for non-compliance,” he said. “The US is not backing the Russians who want to give more teeth to the resolution.”
    Now it is Pakistan that “holds the key to the future of Afghanistan,” Harrison said.
    The creation of the Taliban was central to Pakistan’s “pan-Islamic vision,” Harrison said.
    It came after “the CIA made the historic mistake of encouraging Islamic groups from all over the world to come to Afghanistan,” he said. The creation of the Taliban had been “actively encouraged by the ISI and the CIA,” he said. “Pakistan has been building up Afghan collaborators who will sustain Pakistan,” he said.
    [(C) 'Times of India', 2001 Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

    Jared Israel comments: This article includes some useful information but is misleading. It appears to strongly underestimate U.S. 'help' to the Taliban, suggests more Pakistani control than may have been the case, and views Washington's aid merely as a mistake. A 'N.Y. Times' article that appeared in 1998 (see: http://emperors-clothes.com/do... suggests the CIA/NATO was directly involved. This of course makes it harder to suggest, as Mr. Harrison does, that "encouraging Islamic groups from all over the world to come to Afghanistan" was
    simply a mistake, something sold by Pakistan and stupidly bought by Washington. Washington's relations with and various uses of Islamist terrorism (or, as Washington
    sometimes likes to say, 'freedom fighters') is discussed in 'Credible Deception' at http://emperors-clothes.com/ar...

    ...and I am Sid Harth

  • Let's be frank. ISIS Domestic Terror Threat Created by CIA and U.S. Military
    CIA facilitated 9/11 terrorist visa mill in Saudi Arabia

    By Kurt Nimmo
    Global Research, June 20, 2014
    Infowars 19 June 2014

    Region: Middle East & North Africa, USA
    Theme: 9/11 & 'War on Terrorism', Intelligence
    In-depth Report: IRAQ REPORT

    Eli Lake, writing for The Daily Beast, in other words Newsweek, warns that Americans fighting in Syria may soon return home and pose a serious terror threat.

    “The problem, U.S. counter-terrorism and intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast, is that there are just so many jihadists with Western passports traveling to fight in Syria that they worry some of them may slip back into the United States without being detected,”

    Lake writes.

    He then quotes Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, who told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March hundreds of terrorists have Western passports and they “could return to their home countries to commit violence on their own initiative or participate in al Qaeda-directed plots.”

    CIA’s Saudi Visa Mill

    Prior to the September 11, 2001, attack the CIA arranged passports and visas for veterans of its covert war in Afghanistan. This was confirmed by the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Michael Springman, who told then BBC journalist Greg Palast in November, 2001, he “was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants” who were allowed to enter the United States.

    “What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama Bin Laden, to the US for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then-Soviets,” Springman said.

    Springman talked about this CIA terrorist visa factory with Alex Jones in February, 2010:

    Months before the September 11 attacks Shayna Steinger, a consular official, issued 12 visas to the alleged hijackers at the consulate in Jeddah. A State Department memo states Steinger issued 11 visas to the hijackers, but one additional visa was issued by a second consular officer.

    Terrorists Trained by the U.S. Military

    Earlier this week, Aaron Klein, reporting for WorldNetDaily, revealed that members of ISIS fighting against the al-Assad government in Syria were trained by U.S. military instructors in Jordan. According to Jordanian officials, the trainees “were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.”

    ISIS emerged from the ranks of al-Qaeda in Iraq and is considered more militant and extremist than al-Qaeda.

    Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, it was reported – and subsequently relegated to the memory hole – that a number of the purported hijackers were “trained in strategy and tactics” at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, according to Newsweek.

    CIA Created Terrorists

    The CIA has a long history of hands-on experience with terrorists who have allegedly attacked the United States. Ramzi Yousef, the supposed mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned Bojinka attack, was recruited by the CIA and fought with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

    Ali Mohamed, a major in the Egyptian army recruited by the CIA,

    “trained most of al-Qaeda’s top leadership – including bin Laden and [Ayman] al-Zawahiri – and most of al-Qaeda’s top trainers. Mohamed taught surveillance, counter-surveillance, assassinations, kidnapping, codes, ciphers and other intelligence techniques,”

    U.S. prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told the 9/11 Commission in 2004. “For five years he was moving back and forth between the US and Afghanistan.”

    “It’s impossible the CIA thought he was going there as a tourist. If the CIA hadn’t caught on to him, it should be dissolved and its budget used for something worthwhile,” Nabil Sharef, a university professor and former Egyptian intelligence officer, told The Wall Street Journal in November, 2001.

    Returning members of ISIS, now hyped as the next wave of domestic terror, are not tourists, either. If, as predicted by a range of officials, including Rep. Peter King and Sen. Lindsey Graham, ISIS attacks inside America it will be part of a larger plan to expand and extend the war on terror and put the finishing touches on the surveillance and police state in America.

    This apparatus is not designed to protect against al-Qaeda or ISIS terrorists. The purpose is to spy on the American people, who are the real enemy, and make certain they cannot effectively challenge the political monopoly of the global elite.

    …and I am Sid Harth

  • What typically excessively worrisome nonsense. Not to defend Obama, but he is clearly delineating between ‘local’ threats restricted to the Middle East region and a threat to US national security. ISIS is not a threat to US national security and, like nearly all these groups over the past decade, despite hostile rhetoric, they typically fail to galvanize locals to partake in the dangerous game of trying to attack the US directly.

    Why does this article not even mention some of the obvious severe limitations of ISIS: extreme over-reach, enemies on all sides (Turks, Kurds, Shia militias/weak Iraq army and likely US from above soon), and reliance on support of Sunni tribes and militias that dislike ISIS, with whom they share no ideological affinity and have repeatedly noted their disinterest in working with the group for the long term once their current shared grievances pass.

    And the concluding paragraph is just childish. “The very thing that the U.S.-led coalition fought so hard against in Afghanistan, in other words, is emerging in Iraq.” Not at all of course – what we fought against was a country that had willingly and knowingly harbored international jihadists for years. This is not the case in Iraq. This is a political crisis which has a become militarized by Sunni militias that have embraced ISIS as shock troops for the time being.

    The FA, which typically publishes fantastic analyses, should be ashamed to publish this sensationalist nonsense, which is what I try to avoid in the US media and why I read the FA in the first place.

    • Agreed. The only reason I clicked on this piece was to explore the very un-FA headline. Let this kind of stuff circulate amongst the hawks at the Henry Jackson Society, of which Mr. Simcox is a member. But please, filter this fear-mongering garbage here.

       

      If you think these people are not out to get us in the U.S, your not paying attention, or are on another planet. A lot of them are here now, in every state in this country. Most of you here are out of touch!!

      • Open border, of course they are here and when they blow something up you will lose your last bit of freedom and the joke is is you will never realize who financed them. All those weapons, all that money to finance, to support, this choas where did that come from? Who did we train in Jordan? Follow the money. We want Asad gone, ISIS is a instrument to get to that goal.

      • I couldn’t have said it better myself. I, too, agree with you.

    • Fully agree. This article wasn’t insightful. Not one bit.

  • A question that is not even asked is who is buying the oil from the oil refineries conquered by ISIS. If this question is answered then we could understand better who is collaborating with them and whose interests they serve i guess.

  • With the compliment of the USA, the terrorists have become an army using American equipment, but hey… who are we to say something, while some fat pig in Washington is making billions selling hard weapons to the best bidder?…Meanwhile, we are heading full speed towards W.W.3 with the compliments of Mr. Obama

     
    • “The terrorists have become an army”
      Really? Like the author you seem eager to over-simplify the situation. Don’t get me wrong, it would make a great movie; a huge faceless ‘terrorist’ army over-running/ conquering the region and initiating the waves of attacks in the west-for which we’ve been surrendering our privacy and political agency in fear of this past decade and a half-all of it catalyzed by the arms shipped into the region under the Obama administration (not any of the administrations from the past half century, the weapons they sold magically vanished in 2012) and by his unwillingness to foray our military into every affair that garners the attention of the media. West vs East, realism validated without any shades of grey, very sexy I think it would be a blockbuster.

      • yes, the terrorists have become an army. Too many toys for too many children with too high hormones. I do not know why you mention movies…..reality has always surpassed fantasy. I am a strong fan of “preemptive action”. Obama seems to be the guy who closes the barn’s doors after the cows have run away. Sometimes it seems he makes them escape on purpose….. This world has become under Obama administration much more dangerous. And that is a reality movie for you.

        • This world became more dangerous when Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Bush decided to go into Iraq (based on complete and utter BS) and completely destabilize the country and in fact, the weaker elements of the entire region. Remember their brilliant decision to essentially “fire” the entire Iraqi army??? What else do you think led to immediate and rapid decent into chaos in Irag in 2003/2004. It was them who cast the stones in the pond that is Iraq my friend and the ripples, they are now a’ comin!

          There was a balance that existed in that region, albeit one that was very fragile and orchestrated by individuals and regimes that the US did not see eye to eye with. But make no mistake Mr. “Blame It All On Obama”…. There-Was-No-AQ-In-Iraq before 2003/2004. Our invasion invited them in. Our invasion strengthened Iran’s influence in Iraq. THAT SIR, was not Obama. He is dealing with having to clean up the broken glass from the overturned wine cellar from the last Admin. And guess what, so will the next POTUS, whether they are an R or a D. Good luck getting your new T-Party friends to authorize another $500B in US treasure to fight that war.

  • What I find quite interesting is the geo-politics of this whole situation. Russia was pro-Assad and the US pro rebels (the emerging ISIS) only a year ago. Now we have a situation, whereby both Russia and US do not want ISIS to achieve – Russia because it’s swallowing in Chechen fighters and the US because it too is seeing western volunteers for Jihad, many of who will all return to their native homelands at the conclusion of this uprising with a similar mujahedeen mindset – seen after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It might just be that Russia and the US will have to forge closer relationships in order to prevent homegrown terrorism returning to their homelands to carry out attacks within their state borders (could this be at the expense of Ukraine)?
    It’s clear to see that if you draw a map around that region there are three sphere’s of influence namely, a US backed Turkey, Jordon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel; a Russian backed Syria and Northern boarder countries and finally, Iran. Strange to think this regional ‘pariah’ could be the one that holds the key to any settlements down the line – at what cost though is the question?

  • One thing that strikes me is the broadcasting of their intention to take on the West.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s taunting words? The gun wrapped in their flag?

    Lots of possible reasons why, and I’m not going to jump to any conclusions. But it does not seem like the best possible strategy if their goal is actually to bring the war to us. One possibility is that they are worried that the US won’t get involved, and thus help unify various groups behind them.

  • In the absence of air power, ISIS have taken over a road system in the Iraq/Syria desert. Great front, calling for a caliphate, and the momentum might carry them further, especially if they obtain nukes. Then they become, if not already, Enemy No.1.

  • The only thing ISIS will destroy in the United States is tolerance of Islam. People ignorant of history don’t know that America drove an entire religion outside it borders and refused to tolerate it again until it changed drastically. it’s an ugly but true story of Mormons in America. If Muslims don’t want to share this fate they will turn in every single radical ISIS nutjob that arises in their communities in the United States.

  • How will the west sell this bull? Lets hide, we now have new boogyman man.

  • Who created the conditions for the empowerment of ISIS? The West! That ragtag army could have been taken out by drones, But Obama sends 100 “advisers” instead of unleashing his drones to halt their advance. But I guess, the powers that be in Washington want to let ISIS create its caliphate. Maybe Obama wants ISIS around to continue to create mayhem in the area.

    I marvel at Obama’s whole Middle East strategy! Take out a secular “dictator” to replace him by animals who tear out the heart of their victims to eat! Great going, Obama!

    Chickens have been known to come home to roost, you know!

  • As the saying goes, all politics is local. Things have to begin somewhere and that place is always “local”. What we need to understand is not just the local implications of ISIS’ local success, but the ambitions and the ability of it’s leadership to inspire others to carry out that ambition. From what we’ve seen recently, ISIS leadership has great ambition and the ability to inspire others to realize that ambition. When ISIS seized Mosul they got their hands on over a half billion dollars. That will go a long way in the world of terrorism. The 9/11 operation by comparison cost Qaeda very a tiny fraction of that. An ISIS operations against the US would help it to build credibility in the shadowy world of jihadists. The greatest failure of the west on 9/11 was a failure of imagination. President Obama’s foreign policy is coming unraveled on multiple fronts and most of that failure can be attributed to the President’s lack of imagination. He is a bright and charming man who seems to have very little grasp of how the world actually works. The world is becoming a more dangerous place in the vacuum created by the policies that stem from that lack of understanding.