STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Three times in just over a month the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Middle Eastern extremist group centered in Iraq, better known as ISIS, released videos of a beheading. Two of the victims were American journalists and the third was a British aid worker.
In addition to these killings, the Jund al-Khilafah, a group affiliated with ISIS in Alergia, released a video of the beheading of a captured French tourist on Sept. 24 after the French government refused to back down when Jund al-Khilafah demanded that they cease air strikes against the terrorist groups in the area.
The group states that they are carrying out these murders because of Western aggression against their homeland, and they show no signs of stopping.
ISIS is a terrorist organization at its core but not in the way Al-Qaeda or the Taliban is or was. It seems that ISIS might have more future-minded objectives than Al-Qaeda, and some think ISIS is more organized and focused.
“The main difference is that terrorist organizations theoretically or historically usually try to hit-and-run. ISIS is trying to establish a state, to hold territory and they have been successful,” said Drake Professor Mahmoud Hamad, a Middle Eastern politics expert.
ISIS released another video last week with the threat, “Fighting is just the beginning.”
Professor Hamad believes bombing raids could very well be sufficient in containing ISIS, but to eliminate them, troops will need to be put onto the ground.
President Barrack Obama has said on several occasions that he wants to avoid sending ground troops in, but if stopping ISIS is the goal, that it may be necessary.
Obama’s advisers are not ruling out this possibility and the same goes with many in Congress.
“If the U.S. wants to deal with ISIS militarily, they will need a multilateral approach much like they did in the Gulf War and not a unilateral approach like in the Iraq War,” said first-year politics major Russell White.
It seems this is understood, as both the U.S. and France, among others, have already begun utilizing airstrikes against targets in the region and agreements have been made with other Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain to help combat ISIS.
But why should people here in the U.S. care about what is going on in Iraq and Syria, especially since they haven’t been targeting America itself?
“They are not a threat to the United States … but they could be a threat to our friends and allies … They also are a threat to American personnel,” Hamad said.
David Wright, associate dean and professor in the School of Journalism, made a similar claim.
“If we accept that (ISIS’s actions are) okay, through violence, through control, through manipulation, without a process for the people to speak for themselves,” Wright said, “(then) I think we have to stand up along with other countries to say, ‘That’s unacceptable to us.’”
He also went on to talk about how closely linked the world is and how these actions impact the U.S., regardless of distance.
This could affect things from the price of gas to an increase in the amount of young people who may be called to service.
“Thousands of people are dying because of ISIS right now … (and there are others) that are being forced to convert to a different religion … or forced into marriages or raped by this group, so, as humans, we should be concerned,” Wright said.
Just this past week Samira Salih Al-Nuaimi, a prominent Iraqi human rights leader and lawyer, was tortured and executed in a public square when the group discovered that she posted negative comments about ISIS online.
The vast majority of the targets of ISIS, however, are civilians, primarily minorities in the towns that ISIS takes over, not imprisoned Westerners or public figures.
Many believe the public killings are horrible, but these mass killings cost even more lives. Nobody knows exactly how to stop ISIS. Countries, including the U.S., are responding in the way they deem best.