What is in a Name?
In October 2014, French officials declared that they will refer to the Muslim terrorist organization that is attempting to establish a worldwide caliphate (kingdom) as Daesh. Daesh is the acronym of the organization’s full name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, and it also happens to be an insult when read aloud as one word. In Arabic, Daesh can mean “to trample down and crush” and “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” Members of D.A.E.S.H. have threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who uses the term. Daesh members want to be known as The Islamic State, which gives them credibility (importance) as a country that is Islamic, or ISIS (Islamic State in Syria), or ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant). The Levant is the name of an area in Southwest Asia.
The United States of America and Daesh
September 2014 to February 2015
In a speech in September 2014, President Obama announced that the United States of America “will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL, through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.” Since this time, the U.S.A. has used limited airstrikes to attack Daesh in Iraq and Syria. President Obama has declared that no U.S. ground troops will be used in the fight against ISIS.
In February, 2015, various journalists and politicians commented whether the U.S.A. was winning the war against ISIS. Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, reported that ISIS controls about the same area it did in September 2014, and that ISIS continues to successfully recruit terrorists. Bergen noted that while the Pentagon claims to be killing around 1,000 terrorists per month, it also admits that ISIS is recruiting about 1,000 terrorists per month. Vox, the liberal-leaning internet news source, reported that while ISIS is not retreating, it has stopped advancing. Journalist Zack Beauchamp noted that in order for ISIS to survive, it has to keep advancing or lose credibility.
Currently, ISIS controls an area larger than Switzerland with a population greater than 8,000,000. It is estimated that ISIS fighters number in the tens of thousands, possibly at 30,000. Recent reports show ISIS training children to become terrorist fighters, using similar tactics that Nazi Germany used in training youngsters to be part of Hitler Youth. Inhabitants under the yoke of ISIS, or Daesh, have no freedoms and face torture and murder if they do not follow a strict understanding of Islam.
In the months since September, 2014, ISIS has successfully tortured and murdered Westerners, Jews, Christians, and primarily, Muslims who ISIS believes do not follow the religion correctly. ISIS films when they torture and murder and uses these videos as recruiting tools. ISIS terrorists burned a Jordanian pilot to death in a cage. They also filmed their terrorists beheading twenty-one Egyptian Christians. In the last month, American aid volunteer Kayla Mueller was murdered. American intelligence say ISIS killed the twenty-six year old.
Even though President Obama vowed to destroy ISIS in September 2014, it appears he does not believe that ISIS is a dangerous threat to Americans. In February, President Obama hosted a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. At this summit American leaders did not mention radical Islam or Muslim terrorists or ISIS. The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted that at about the time of the summit, in the Iraqi town of Kirkuk, ISIS paraded 17 Kurdish soldiers in cages through the streets. Kirkuk is an important oil trading center that ISIS did not hold in September 2014. It is believed these 17 soldiers will face the same end as other soldiers ISIS has captured.
1. In September 2014, what did President Obama vow the U.S.A. would do against ISIS?
2. Is ISIS winning the war against the U.S.A. or is the U.S.A. winning?
3. Why does ISIS film when it tortures and kills its enemies?
4. Do President Obama’s words and actions show that he is serious in using American power to defeat ISIS?