By Sal Bommarito
Is it important for Americans to focus on the developing events in the Middle East and specifically the efforts of ISIS to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria? The answer is yes.
The most critical issue is the threat of terrorism spreading to the U.S. and other western countries. The religious fanatics who encourage violence, among other things, want to kill “non-believers.” Unfortunately, this call to arms means that if you worship God in a manner that is not prescribed by the Koran (the terrorist interpretation of it), you are a target.
If a large percentage of Islamists adopt this philosophy, up to 1.6 billion of them could go to war with Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. And, fellow Muslims who interpret the Koran differently or who are of a different sect (Shiite versus Sunni) are also at risk. So, over a billion could be planning jihad against the other 5 billion in the world.
Of course, this analysis assumes every Muslim is a fanatic, which is absurd. In fact, most say that only a small number of Islamists want to kill others who are not Muslim. But, the number could be growing in response to worsening socioeconomic conditions affecting Muslims and the drama associated with ISIS.
ISIS, for all it obvious faults and warped perspectives, gives the downtrodden and religious fanatics a false sense of hope. Disenfranchised people want to be part of a revolution, or a winning team, that supports their personal beliefs and gives them hope of a better life. It is a false hope because ISIS does not have the resources or the firepower to sustain a caliphate much less a new nation.
From an American’s perspective, the damage that ISIS can do is significant. The chaos in the Middle East could eventually impact our lives. The obvious possibility is a massive terrorist strike undertaken by so called lone wolves. Jihadism cannot destroy America, but its violent members could disrupt us dramatically. If you live in the U.S., consider what you were feeling on the day that jets smashed into the World Trade Center towers.
Additionally, in defense of freedom and for the protection of the strategic assets domiciled in the Middle East, the U.S. will likely be sending its soldiers to the region and spending billions for military operation and assistance. Unfortunately, being swept deeper into the ISIS conflict and dabbling in a new nation-building escapade is always possible. Besides putting our young people in harm’s way, the U.S. may need to expend precious resources in a place several thousand miles away, rather than on domestic priorities.
So, should Americans be concerned about ISIS, terrorism, jihadists, the plight of Israel (our most important ally), and the security of oil reserves in the region. Damn right we should.