By Sal Bommarito
Why would anyone suggest that ISIS is not a serious threat to the Middle East and the rest of the world? Arab nations and the U.S. were hopeful that the insurgents’ momentum would peter out after the U.S. began bombing and/or when ISIS resources and recruitment abated. Unfortunately, America’s bombing strategy has not been very effective, ISIS has not run out of cash and recruitment is strong. In fact, the courage, cruelty and perseverance of the rogue Islamic terrorists have become an inspiration to rebel groups in the region and around the world.
The most recent events, in which ISIS incinerated a brave Jordanian pilot and an ISIS affiliate in Libya executed a group of Egyptian Christians, have enraged the governments of these victims. Both have responded with airstrikes against the offenders.
As ISIS and its newfound friends continue to perpetrate crimes against humanity, more Arab countries will likely see the light and act accordingly. It’s sad that Jordan and Egypt and all the other countries in the region did not act sooner. Perhaps, with more aggressive military action by these states at the outset of the ISIS crisis (in conjunction with U.S. support), ISIS’ celebrity would not be on the rise.
ISIS leaders must be astounded that their ideology, whatever it is, is spreading to other places. Former Al Qaeda troublemakers and sundry rebel organizations that heretofore have either declined in relevance or never made an impact have allied with ISIS. It is questionable whether these groups are truly jihadists or just trying join the mainstream of terrorist activity.
The most disappointing performance in this entire affair is that of the U.S. President Obama has been indecisive and is still resisting attempts to label ISIS an Islamic terrorist group. In most cases, labeling is not critical. But, ISIS claims to be murdering in the name of their God. The organization consists mostly of Islamic believers. It is very sectarian, in that it is particularly cruel when it encounters Shiites and non-Islamic Arabs.
Yet, the Obama administration has given us irrelevant historical perspectives as if this conflict is a college course. And, most importantly, Obama, his minions and his apologists have not engaged ISIS to prevent its celebrity from spreading.
One expert on the topic of the Middle East said to me privately that ISIS has killed only a minimal number of opponents. The conflict is a small uprising that should be dealt with on a regional basis. I’m unsure how many crimes against humanity constitute a situation that warrants the outrage of America. But, when you consider the number of wanton executions including many on the battlefield that have not received wide spread attention, the displacement of many Iraqis and Syrians and the millions of refugees who are at risk, I would say it is appropriate for America to be infuriated into greater engagement.
Let’s be clear, no one, Americans nor Arabs, wants the U.S. to occupy another country in the region. The mission of the U.S., from a moral perspective, should be the defeat of ISIS. America should act promptly and use the necessary force to complete the mission and exit. So no one is disillusioned, civil wars will ensue after ISIS is crushed; Iraq and Syria are at the top of the list. These conflicts and the government reform that follows will be exacerbated by sectarian hatred and violence. But, they are not the business of the U.S.
I hate the idea of using ground forces and sending our soldiers into harm’s way. But, more ground troops are necessary to accomplish the mission laid out earlier. If we want to end the ISIS threat, and it now qualifies as a worldwide threat, more force and more soldiers need to be employed. It is the moral obligation of America to deal with this problem.