On 10/9/2014 on Al Jazeera there was a discussion on ISIS also known as ISIL, IS or Caliphate. Phyllis Bennis referred to John Kerry’s plan to put together a coalition of the willing as a coalition of the killing. She said in American media the beheadings of two American journalists have been portrayed as danger to all Americans instead of American journalists who go to Iraq and Syria. The beheading of six ISIS fighters including one American by so-called moderate Free Syrian Army has not been reported except by New York Times in an article in an inside page. USA by air strikes in Iraq took part in a civil war on the side of Kurdish Peshmerga and Shias against Sunni ISIS.
Later Barack Obama said “We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy. America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.”
Calling ISIS a terrorist threat is ignoring the reality that it is a state. It fulfils four conditions needed for a state: population, territory, government, sovereignty.
The condemnation of ISIS by Arab League sounds hollow. Many of these countries had supported ISIS. They supplied it with money and arms and trained them. Some Americans had warned against arming rebel forces in Syria as they were full of people who hated America. Those warning were ignored by American government.
The coalition seems doomed. A Turkish official said “Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operation.” Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman do not want ISIS to fail. They do not want to offend USA. They are likely to play on both sides as Pakistan did in America’s War on Terror in Afghanistan.
ISIS had driven out Christians, Yazidis, and Shias from the territories they had conquered. But US air strikes were ostensibly to protect Americans in Erbil, also known as Arbil or Irbil. There were 40 consular staff and 100 American soldiers in Erbil. If any other country had done such a thing there would have been condemnation.
USA’s involvement in Afghanistan has been a disaster. Soldiers trained by Americans have killed American soldiers. The attacks are known as green on blue attacks. If Taliban continues to thrive in Afghanistan it is partly because of Pakistan and partly because of protection money given to Taliban by suppliers who supply goods to Americans. Money given for projects for development in Afghanistan went to private accounts of Afghan officials in UAE. Similar situation is likely to arise in Iraq and Syria.
Afghanistan is in a mess. Presidential election dispute is not resolved. Afghan Constitution does not grant freedom of religion. Any Muslim who changes religion can be sentenced to death.
Libya is in a mess. Most embassies are closed and foreigners have left. Different factions control different parts of Libya.
ISIS operated in Syria for a long time. When it marched into Iraq and captured Mosul it grabbed worldwide attention. For USA and allies they were freedom fighters in Syria. In Iraq they became terrorists.
Many EU countries have recession. Sanctions against Russia have resulted in counter-sanctions. Russia stopped buying fruits, vegetables and meat from EU countries. ISIS is not a threat to them.
UK is a willing and killing partner in USA’s invasion. There is referendum in Scotland on independence on 18/9/2014. Opinion polls show 51% Yes vote. Many British politicians are worried. Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberal Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Labour Party leader David Milliband had gone to Scotland to campaign for No vote. Some British Muslims are in ISIS. UK has a problem if they return.
ISIS would not have executed American journalists if they had got ransom. Many Europeans journalists were released after ISIS received millions of euros in ransom. For James Foley’s release ISIS is said to have demanded 100 million euros as ransom. USA had a commando operation to rescue him which did not succeed.
There are attempts to win over Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq by USA. It is done by offering money for switching sides. In the past USA had been successful. However when the money stops tribal leaders switch sides again.
With the rise of ISIS, Al Qaeda has faded into insignificance. Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s statement of jihad in Indian sub-continent is an attempt to show Al-Qaeda still matters.
Vladimir Putin has warned against air strikes on ISIS in Syria without Syrian government’s permission has violation of Syria’s sovereignty. If USA goes ahead with air strikes without permission Russia can counter USA in Syria or attack Ukraine.
In Nigeria also there is a caliphate, established by Boko Haram which had kidnapped more than 200 girls. Not much is known about the whereabouts of the girls.