With President Obama’s request for Congress to grant war powers against ISIS, the reality of the situation is hitting closer to home. However, one needs to understand the complexities of war against the organization, where its motives and methods are difficult for many, and for good reason. Although it is referred to collectively as “the Middle East,” the different religions, politics and culture groups in the area are incredibly complicated.
To help you understand the gravity and complexity of the struggle against ISIS, We The Threefold Advocate want to lay out some key points and events to give you the fullest understanding of the situation.
First, while it is essential to stay updated, it is just as important to understand the background information. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is an Islamist terrorist organization with religious and political motives. A recent article written for The Atlantic elaborated on ISIS’ religious motives, pointing out the group’s desire to return the world to early Islam and bring about the apocalypse. Other sources agree that the religious motivations are strong to harken people back to the early days of Islam. Evidence of this is seen through the Islamic State’s naming Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as their Caliph, a religious and political leader of the entire Muslim community, back in June.
It is clear that ISIS is trying to validate political actions and murder by using religious language and motivation, which is highly effective in gaining and maintaining followers. We all know that ISIS has beheaded, burned alive, raped and tortured thousands of people, including non-combatants, children, humanitarian and aid workers, Muslims and Christians. The United Nations confirmed that the group has committed these crimes against humanity.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get exact numbers on how many people ISIS has murdered. One of the reasons for this is that the terrorists have killed and kidnapped many local and international journalists in the region, as well as taking control of most media communications. With their propaganda and mastery of social media communication, ISIS is making it difficult to get information out of Iraq and Syria.
If the atrocities against innocent people are not enough to get your attention, or if the problems seem far away to you, remember that U.S. presidential elections are fast approaching. Not only will abortion and gun rights be important topics, but war with ISIS will be on everyone’s minds as well.
In addition, it is not only people in Iraq and Syria who support ISIS. Recruiters for the organization have been found in nations all over the globe, including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The FBI has acknowledged that ISIS is attempting to recruit American teenagers, among others. This is not a conspiracy theory, but a real concern that affects all of us.
And what has been done to stop ISIS, you ask? Various nations, including Jordan, Egypt and the United States have issued airstrikes on ISIS areas of control, yet the group continues to grow in number and territory. Last week, the United States revealed plans to support Iraqi fighters in an attack on the ISIS-held city of Mosul, Iraq, in the next few months. ISIS has held Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq and home to nearly 2 million people, since June of last year.
Significant developments will likely take place in the next few weeks, and We The Threefold will continue to update you about these events. However, we urge you to continue reading and watching the news and praying for the people connected with this conflict: Christians, Muslims, and everyone involved.