By Sal Bommarito
ISIS is slaughtering Iraqis that oppose them according to a New York Times story. Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi has been courting Sunni tribal leaders and encouraging them to fight ISIS. This is a radical turn of events, as the previous administration disenfranchised Sunnis. Yet, the enthusiasm of the tribesmen has more to do with protecting themselves against murderous ISIS forces than supporting the government.
One Sunni tribe, Albu Nimr fought for months against the jihadists. They were finally outgunned, and ISIS took umbrage on those who defied them. There are reports of mass graves from 200 executions. ISIS generally seeks out all the townsfolk and tribesmen who resist and summarily murders them.
Albu Nimr received no support from the government, could not obtain supplies and were overwhelmed by ISIS’ heavy weapons captured from Iraqi armories.
“Anyone who was in the state, in the government or in the security force, is their enemy,” said a tribal leader.
Across the border in Syria, ISIS fighters “bragged of executing hundreds of members of the Shueitat tribe . . .”
Human Rights Watch said “that the Islamic State had systematically executed about 600 captives after taking over a prison near Mosul . . .” Shiite prisoners were segregated and shot as they knelt alongside a ravine.
The United Nations estimates that “roughly” 15,000 fighters from about 80 countries, including the U.S. and the European Union had joined ISIS.
American generals and the Iraqi government say it is critical to recruit Sunnis to join in the fight for Iraq. But, they are not being supported, and ISIS is applying brutal means to defeat the tribes that oppose them. Mass executions are now commonplace.
The significance of these horrific reports is clear. The U.S. is not going to be able to stem the ISIS tide using current tactics. The latter is becoming stronger every day, and the resistance against them is virtually non-existent. There is no way that Iraqis alone can repel the terrorists. Therefore, ground forces are absolutely necessary before the situation grows completely out of control.
If the U.S. continues to resist calls for foot soldiers, other Arab nations will need to provide them. If they do not, ISIS will destabilize the entire region. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are not safe.