The ‘ISIS’ Phenomenon

Image result for isis flag

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), The Levant or the Islamic State (IS) are some of the names given to the world’s infamous ‘terrorist’ organization, which is operated by religious fundamentalists, adept at using social media to unleash their reign of terror. The Islamic group and its functioning has been the centre of raging debate world-over. However, the constant comparison with the Al-Qaeda’s ideology and lack of understanding of the organization in general is further leading to its uncontrolled rise.

A viral video titled “Truth in Media: Origin of the ISIS” broke out on social media, recently. It talks very explicitly about the role of the United States of America in the creation of the ‘brutal savage group that conducts public beheadings and mass executions’. A while back, the Secretary of Defense of the country, Leon Panetta spoke about the interest in funding a 30-year war in Iraq against the ISIS. This is the second time that the country has locked horns with Iraq, the first time being the U.S mandated “Operation Desert Storm” with an ulterior motive of overthrowing the Saddam Hussein government. This was also the starting point of the unprecedented rise of the ISIS. The U.S in fact, created a ‘Power Vacuum’ in Iraq, which provided the appropriate conditions for the rise of the terrorist group. While the ISIS began as a small insurgent group in Iraq in 2006, it only gained momentum in June 2014, wherein it reemerged- heavily armed and trained by U.S specialist coalition forces.

To put things in perspective lets go back to the year 2013- the year when the United States of America was heavily supplying the Syrian rebels with light weapons to overthrow the Assad government. President Barack Obama was on several occasions asked about the involvement of the U.S government in the civil war in Syria, but he never once gave a convincing answer or took a conclusive stand. The CIA funded weapons -which apparently included artillery and light weapons- eventually made their way into the hands of the ISIS. How? Through members of the Free Syrian Army.

The growth of the ISIS has very much been on the radar of the U.S government and was not unanticipated. Despite that, instead of proactively slashing their means of making immense amounts of wealth, the country instead gave almost 500 million Dollars to the very same Free Syrian Army, to ‘fight’ the ISIS. If this isn’t the prototype for hypocrisy, then what is? As Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute correctly pointed out, “America is a victim of its own insane policies.”

Yes, there is a threat, but not to the national security of just the United States of America, but to the peace of the entire world. The Islamic State is a result of direct American action. However, all these facts are misconstrued and disguised in a remarkable manner by the media.

However, the point here is to not make accusations or play blame games. This fight is of terrorism against the rest of the world. After the carnage in Paris, where nearly 129 people were murdered (yes, murdered), Francois Hollande, the French president openly declared this to be an ‘Act of War’ by the ISIS. Leaders all over the world are proactively advocating war, which is unfortunately not a solution to end terrorism.

According to an article in The Guardian by Yuval Noah Harari, terrorists have no real military strength therefore, they create a spectacle. In this sense, terror becomes a military strategy that looks at fear mongering as a means changing the political situation rather than causing material damage. If one were to put this in perspective with the ISIS’ ideology, it would made complete sense. There is no denying that there were lots of innocent lives lost in the various attacks initiated by them, but the fear that they have garnered world over cannot be assigned any numbers. States and leaders have been forced to respond simply to assuage these fears. The ISIS is thriving by perpetuating an ideology- one that threatens to nations and their citizens in situations of unprecedented violence- that induces fear in anticipation of an unforeseen event. The organization is growing at this pace because countries have failed to take a unanimous stand to curb them. Some are overtly fueling their growth, while some are doing the same covertly, while the world is watching. The ISIS cannot be destroyed by violence or war. To eradicate the organization, there needs to be a way to cut their oxygen supply, the means of their existence. For that to happen, countries need to comply with one another. This is a tussle between terrorism and humanity where war is seldom the answer.

Anahitha Sagar


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