A few days ago, Mary Beth and I were having a discussion about current events--mostly Gaza and Ukraine, since that's what was being presented almost exclusively on the cable networks we watch, as well as our NPR radio station--and I raised the question, what about ISIS? Why isn't anything much being said about ISIS, since it was beginning to take over large chunks of Iraq and Syria, and clearly posing a threat to the region?
And last night, of course, it was all ISIS, all night, because President Obama had ordered some airdrops of supplies to religious refugees who were threatened by ISIS, as well as some possible military airstrikes on ISIS, if they continued to threaten Irbil, one of the northern most cities in Iraq, where we have a Consulate and military advisors.
So where did this monster called ISIS come from--the most radical and threatening Islamist group to arise in the area in a long time?
I went online and found out a few things....that they had been 'disowned' by Al-Qaeda about a year ago, because they were too radical, of all things! That sounds very weird to me--too radical for Al Qaeda! Here we've been bombing and droning Al Qaeda, especially in Pakistan and Yemen, but we don't seem to have been doing anything about ISIS? Very strange.
ISIS is currently led by a nice fellow, ahem, by the name of Abu_Bakr_al-Baghdadi, and they have a reputation for being extremely brtual toward Shia Muslims, Christians, and other persons they consider infidels. And at least in the case of Iraq, they've been extremely effective in defeating the Iraqi army and taking over land, which they designated as their own 'caliphate' (the name for an Islamic empire).
Here's the other important piece of information I know: ISIS has been fighting in Syria against the Syrian government of Assad, and in that war, they've been on OUR side, in the sense that we're tacitly part of the coalition trying to overthrow the current Assad dynasty in Syria, as part of our larger war against Iran and the other big Shia states in the region (like Iraq). In this we've joined with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, and Turkey, to name just a few.
In other words, it appears to me that we've probably been at least temporary friends with ISIS for some time now, because the US and our allies wanted to use them for our purposes, which was defeating Assad and doing regime change in Syria and, further down the line, in Iran.
Ah, we do love our regime change....
But things have gotten out of control, it appears. ISIS has slipped out of our (meaning the list of nations above) control when we weren't looking, and gone ahead on their own, or so it would appear. And while our own real efforts and energies recently have gone into our regime change and consolidation efforts in Ukraine, with its time consuming sanctions on Russia and the demonizing of Putin (who is sitting back and watching the Ukrainian kills each other), as well as the recent bombardment/invasion of Gaza by Israel, ISIS in the meantime has captured thousands of square miles of Syria and Iraq, and set up their own radical state.
This is all very strange, about as strange as it gets these days in the world. As I find more information of whatever kind, I'll share it with you.