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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT ISIS?

A curious thing has happened.  ISIS has so pissed off the ruling classes in the Middle East that the end might now be in sight.

First of all, the group began in 1999 as Jama'at al-Tawhid walk-Jihad, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic State of Iraq.  It has evolved, having differences with Al-Queda not long after 9/11/2001, and being disowned by A-Q a year ago, after becoming in 2013 the unrecognized Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS.  However, al-Sham is commonly translated from Arabic as the Levant, hence, the term ISIL, as used by President Barack Obama. 

Their current leader is Abu Bakr  al-Baghadi (right), who spent four years in U.S. captivity (in Iraq), before being released in 2009.  There was an earlier Abu Bakr, who was one of the fathers in law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.  The current Abu Bakr has a PhD in Islamic Studies and is only 44 years old.  

Keep in mind that ISIS/ISIL is Sunni.  Muslims are 23% the world population, and only 20% of this Islamic faith live in the Middle East and Africa.  China has more Muslims than Syria, while Russia is home to more than Jordan and Libya combined.  Only 10-13% are Shia, so most Muslims are Sunni.  Shias live in Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq.  Understanding this, you should better be able to appreciate what is happening in that part of the World.  Here is an operational map:

Anyway, ISIS/ISIL is hardly worthy of any media attention, relative to previous mortal enemies:
  • ISIS:  perhaps 35,000 serious terrorists, with foreigners perhaps as high as half of them, 3,400 from the Western world.  Reports have gone as high as 200,000, but most of them are women and children, plus a whole bunch of sympathizers.  Unlike Al-Queda and the Taliban that tend do live in camps, ISIS is a militia and they invade.  But they have no nuclear capability.  There is no chance of ISIS taking over the world.  They only control a few cities in Iraq, Syria and a couple of other spots:


  • The Soviet Union during the Cold War had 5 million active military personnel and in the 70's into the 90's had more nuclear weapons than the USA.  They exploded the most powerful Hydrogen Bomb, and had first strike capabilities.  Humanity could have come to an end had the worst case scenario unfolded.

  • In 1938 the Axis powers, led by Germany, Japan and Italy, had a population of 260 million with superior military capabilities over the Allies.  If Hitler had succeeded in developing the Atomic Bomb first, a different World War II would have made the world a far different place.

So an unexpectedly interesting thing has happened in the Middle East.  It was only a little more than four years ago that the Arab Spring changed the face of countries in Africa and the Middle East.  Now that the U.S. and allies have largely left the region, there is a new type of Arab Spring taking shape.  ISIS/ISIL, and equally barbarous Boko Haram, have so irritated the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan,Egypt, and other countries, that they are now taking the leadership role in taking care of local business with regards to radical terrorists.  This is exactly as should have been orchestrated in the beginning.  The European Union and USA now don't need to place boots on the ground to safe keep oil wells.  Instead, we can now shuttle funds (only billions instead of trillions) through the United Nations to responsible organizations better able to return their cities and countries to normalcy.  So don't lose any sleep over ISIS/ISIL.

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