UPDATED: A Dummies Guide To ISIS
- Michel'le Donnelly
Definitely overdue, here are some updated answers to your burning questions about the West’s fiercest rival - ISIS …
The Islamic State (or IIS or ISIL or IS- such divas with all these names) is a militant Islamist extremist group. According to most news reports, the group was formed in 2010 and has made great gains since being under the leadership of Abu-al Baghdadi. Since their blitz takeover of much of northern Iraq last year, ISIS has gained more ground in Syria and is now most well known for their vicious and disturbing obsession with beheading Western hostages.
Should We Be Scared?
They’re obsessed with beheadings- you decide. Though the Kurdish forces in the north of Iraq have shown they don’t scare easy. It has been reported that the Kurds have managed to recapture the Syrian town of Kobani after driving out ISIS fighters. Since the US-led intervention four months ago the Kurds made gains in other areas, including Daquq, south of Kirkuk in Iraq, and several other towns. So fear not, these cretins aren’t as invincible as they think.
These guys are the Kurds. They’re hardcore.
Wait A Minute, Are We Involved In Another Iraq War?
Well, when Obama first announced a US-led intervention in Iraq the media exploded with headlines announcing the beginning of a ‘third Iraq war’. But then the President came out and assured troops that their deployment to Iraq “will not have a combat mission.” Rather that they would be supporting Iraqi forces on the ground as they try to fight off ISIS. Last week CNN reported that senior US commanders have pointed to the possibility of a small number of US military troops working on the ground to help Iraqi units in the upcoming Mosul assault. Surprisingly enough it is Canadian troops who have been the first to engage in direct fire with ISIS on the ground. Canadian officials have said that they only opened fire after coming under attack.
Well, look at Canada stepping up to the plate and taking the fight top the terrorists. So much for Canadians being the friendliest people!
What Do They Want?
The Islamic State’s main aim is to continue their takeover of Iraq and Syria and further establish a new Islamic caliphate across the Middle East. In a VICE News documentary, one IS fighter says: “We will not stop … we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.” Personally, I think they’re on a massive power trip and just want to be the most influential Islamist extremist group in the world.
These guys are ISIS. They are the bad guys.
Are They Behind The Recent Attacks In Paris?
No, no; It’s more likely the Charlie Hebdo attack was carried out by people inspired by good old-fashioned terrorists, Al-Qaeda. The veteran terrorist group flexed their muscles, making sure ISIS did not overshadow them. However (in what I am convinced was a ploy to gain back their celebrity status) ISIS released videos appearing to show (separately) the deaths of two Japanese hostages by beheading, and the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot. Nice guys.
How Will They Be Defeated?
At the moment moves are being made to spoil the ISIS party, but UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it would be a while before ISIS will be defeated: “It’s going to take a year, two years to push ISIL back out of Iraq but we’re doing the things that need to be done to turn the tide against ISIL …”
Both Hammond and US Foreign Secretary John Kerry agree that the next step is to focus on cutting off the extremist group’s flow of finances and foreign fighters, which includes clamping down on their propaganda. In an already volatile region and with a struggling Iraqi army it would be safe to say that it seems the fight against ISIS has no immediate expiry date.
So now you know!