Cold-Blooded Killers: Islamic State a Threat to Global Security
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 9, 2014
Summary: Obama administration military strategy specifies no ground troops.
But two U.S. reporters were executed. Will Obama's policies change? That
is worth watching. The Islamic State is not a direct threat to Islamic
countries in East Asia, or to the Taiwan Region. But once the United
States shifts the focus of its diplomacy, other policies will require
adjustment. Its Pivot to Asia and confrontation with Mainland China, and
its Ukrainian policy and confrontation with Russia, are likely to be
diluted or compromised. This warrants our close attention.
Full Text Below:
The recently founded Islamic State (IS) has executed two American reporters in a row. The cold-blooded beheadings were performed by masked holy warriors with British accents. The executions were deliberately uploaded to the Internet, touching raw nerves in Western countries. These newly formed Islamic terrorist organizations are unpredictable in their appearance and character. They slaughter infidels and foreigners, enjoy abundant funding, and are running amok.
To say that the Islamic State has become the biggest threat to Middle East and even the world, is no exaggeration. It has conquered territories in Iraq and Syria. It has slaughtered hundreds of locals. It has kidnapped outsiders for ransom, beheaded them, then put them on public display. Worse still, it has absorbed holy warriors from dozens of different countries that are sympathetic to Islam. It has trained them to incite incidents and engage in combat. Western countries fear that once these holy warriors return home, they will engage in terrorist activities.
Recently, 50 British holy warriors who regretted their decision to join the Islamic State sought to return to the UK. But the British government has expressed suspicions about their motives, and so far has not given its consent. The United States is trying to prevent holy warriors from returning home to the US. They fear they will bring terrorism home with them. Meanwhile Denmark is instituting a "recovery plan" to help young holy warriors who lost their way reintegrate into society. A number of German Islamic holy warriors who planned to desert IS were branded as traitors and put to death.
Compared to the Ukraine crisis or Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the emergence of the Islamic State has given President Barack Obama even bigger headaches. When Obama recently spoke on the problem of IS, he admitted he had no countermeasures. This led to a public outcry. But he was telling the truth. The United States and its allies hope to destroy the Islamic State. But the task will be an arduous and lengthy one.
One. The various nations cannot and will not garrison troops in the area. Without ground troops raiding and invading, they cannot eliminate the Islamic State. Currently the United States has ordered only air strikes. On the battlefields of Iraq, it has provided ground support to Kurdish forces. On the battlefields of Syria, it relies on moderate rebels for support. But these rag-tag troops are poorly trained and poorly equipped. They are only able to score easy victories. They are not a force to be reckoned with.
Two. The Islamic State is transnational in character. The problem in Iraq is linked to the problem in Syria and must be solved concurrently. But the problems in Syria are myriad. America is unwilling to sit back and watch Syria fall to the Islamic State. But if air strikes annihilate Islamic State forces, they also remove a thorn in Assad's side, and help the regime survive. This is not what the United States wants. Nor is it what anti-Assad forces in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates want.
Three. Traditional friends and enemies in the Middle East have undergone a shuffle. Thirty years ago, the United States and Iran were at loggerheads. This won the US the support of the Persian Gulf countries. Today, in order to crush the Islamic State, Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has issued a fatwah authorizing military action in Iran and coordination with military commanders. The United States has yet to mention military cooperation with Iran. But according to reports, the two sides discussed the situation in Iraq during nuclear talks. The United States has provided secret assistance to government forces in Syria. It passed intelligence to the Syrian government through Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, enabling the Syrian Army to strike specific targets in the Islamic State.
During a recent NATO summit, Obama invited nine countries to form a "core alliance" to fight IS. US Secretary of State John Kerry did not mince words. He said this would be a lengthy struggle. Maybe one year, two years, or three years. The number of foreign holy warriors in the Islamic State now numbers seven to eight thousand. If they return home, they could bring their terrorist activities back home.
The executioner of the two American reporters had a British accent. Audiences around the world shuddered. An estimated 500 British citizens are participatibng the Islamic State Jihad. Britain wants to send special forces to arrest them. But that is easier said than done. Airlines have been ordered not to allow people on the blacklist board. But for terrorists determined to attack, such barriers are easy to circumvent. The number of United States citizens participating in the Jihad is estimated at a mere 100 people. But the United States is the global hegemon. Therefore it can easily become the object of blame. It is much more likely to be targeted.
With strong financial backing, and bold, callous moves, the Islamic State has become the new world leader of terrorism. From Yemen to Africa, terrorist organizations have announced the establishment of Caliphates of the Islamic State. Spiritual calls to arms, plus Internet propaganda, have enabled the Islamic State to become the most threatening terrorist group to the West since Al-Qaeda.
Obama administration military strategy specifies no ground troops. But two U.S. reporters were executed. Will Obama's policies change? That is worth watching. The Islamic State is not a direct threat to Islamic countries in East Asia, or to the Taiwan Region. But once the United States shifts the focus of its diplomacy, other policies will require adjustment. Its Pivot to Asia and confrontation with Mainland China, and its Ukrainian policy and confrontation with Russia, are likely to be diluted or compromised. This warrants our close attention.
2014.09.10 03:17 am