By Sal Bommarito
The ISIS imbroglio is beginning to create extreme anxiety in the Middle East, among western nations and in America.
At first, the U.S. and Arab Nations did not give ISIS the respect it deserved. This horrendous miscalculation has enabled ISIS to become a cult that is admired by young and disenfranchised people around the world. The group’s expertise in using social media and to recruit new fighters has been spectacular. All this has evolved into a phenomenon- a fighting force that has held its own in spite of U.S. air attacks and continued confrontations on the ground. ISIS is repelling offensives by Iraqi forces, Syrian forces, Shiite militias and most recently Iranian fighters.
ISIS started out as a junior varsity imposition (to paraphrase a comment by President Obama) and has grown into a formidable group of fighters with a strong, although warped, ideology that is attracting many followers, affiliates and imitators.
But, something is amiss. ISIS, in spite of growing coverage by the media, is still an enigma. The public knows very little about the leadership of ISIS or its ultimate objectives. Surely, ISIS cannot believe it is capable of establishing a new Islamic nation. It does not have the resources or the experience to govern and service several hundred thousand or a million citizens. ISIS will never become a real threat to the west beyond its ability to conduct limited terrorist acts. And yet, to some Americans, the threat is growing every day.
One of the great frustrations surrounding ISIS is that information about the organization and its true potential is not being reported with any enthusiasm. The U.S. government’s operations are shrouded in secrecy, although Obama thought it wise to broadcast to the enemy that U.S. ground troops would not be deployed in the region. The U.S. mission has become a complete mystery- degrading and destroying the insurgents may be the slogan, but it’s not happening.
Exacerbating the affair is that the Obama administration is acting like a deer in the headlights. It is spending too much time trying to convince the world that ISIS is just a run of the mill terrorist organization and not a radical Islamic threat. It should be developing a battle plan to kill off the cockroaches that have destabilized the Middle East.
Maybe Obama’s grand plan is to force Arabs to clean up their own mess. All things being equal, this tactic sounds reasonable. It is the Arabs who are under siege, so why should America pay for a war and put its young people in harm’s way?
The answer to the question traces back to the role of the U.S. in the world. In simple terms, should America step aside while ISIS immolates, beheads, tortures, rapes and displaces millions of people? Should America stand by and enable ISIS to commit egregious crimes against humanity? What is going to happen to the 5 or so million displaced Syrians and Iraqis? The writer believes America cannot turn its head in good conscience.
While we are on the sidelines dropping bombs from 15,000 feet, evil forces are imposing themselves. For instance, it has been reported that Iran is supporting Iraq ground forces and making points with Iraqi Shiites that control the country. Looking ahead, if ISIS is ever “neutralized,” Iran will have great influence over Iraq- the cost of the support it is now providing.
Other issues in the Middle East are muddying the water for the Obama administration. The president is determined to give Iran a nuclear capability in ten years. Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks this is an insane thing to agree to. Israel is preparing to go to war with Iran if it gets its way. More than any other issue, Iran’s nuclear program is diverting the U.S. from the task of dealing with ISIS.
Affiliates of ISIS are popping up all over the Middle East and murdering innocents. Lone wolves are planning nefarious acts in countries around the world. Why isn’t the U.S. leading a response to all these events? Is our country now just a spectator, a follower of other nations that have the courage to battle evil forces?
There is still time for the Obama administration to act decisively and prove that America can lead the free world.