Showing posts with label ISIS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ISIS. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


As the country prepares to take on the Islamic State extremists currently located in Syria and Iraq, we still have a lingering quandary that needs to be solved. What the hell are they called?

The Washington Post has a piece explaining why our government and the UN calls them ISIL or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term “al-Sham” refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt (also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan). The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area. The standard English term for this broad territory is “the Levant.” Therefore, AP’s translation of the group’s name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

To be certain, this is something only social studies teachers like me geek out to but I think it's important nonetheless because they geography explains why ISIL is who they are. This is where they believe the next Islamic state should be located. Of course, as the rest of the article notes, even this acronym is up for debate.

The president will address the nation tonight at 9pm Eastern regarding ISIL.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Cold-Hearted Bastard

The press has been having a field day with the president golfing after delivering remarks on the execution of journalist James Foley by the ISIL. Doesn't he have any feelings!!???!! I suppose if I were advising the president I would have suggested some quiet time with his family...perhaps reading a book.

Yet his golfing and laughing with friends, not giving in to their demands for cash as EU nations do, and continuing to bomb the crap out of ISIL positions in northern Iraq completely decimates the idea that he is weak. In fact, he looks pretty much like he is a cold-hearted bastard.

What sort of a message does that send to ISIL?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Until There Is Plurality...

The political world is all in a tizzy today as Hillary Clinton described the president's decision not to support the Syrian rebels early on as a "failure." Let's set aside the fact that her motivations were purely political and likely planned far ahead of time by both her and the White House. What I'm wondering today is this: what action would have been better and why?

The issue here is the massive growth of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in both Syria and Iraq. Many of the president's critics seem to think we could have prevented this from occurring. How, exactly? We tried taking over Iraq and staying there for years and that didn't work. We've been nation building in Afghanistan for nearly 13 years and that hasn't worked. In Libya, we helped the rebels get rid of Gaddafi and that didn't work.

And who exactly we were supposed to arm in Syria? The rebels weren't even soldiers and were made up of doctors, lawyers and ordinary citizens. They wouldn't be able to fight against the power of a state run military. Further, the various factions in Syria (as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya) all hate each other and are mostly enemies of the United States, the one exception being the Kurds in Northern Iraq whom we are now arming and assisting with an air campaign.

In looking at all of this information, a pattern emerges. These turbulent countries are filled with people who don't like each other. Juxtapose this simple fact with the two Arab Spring countries that haven't had any of these issues-Kurdistan and Tunisia. These two countries contain citizens that do like each other and thus, have a desire for plurality. They are also two nations that have zero involvement from the United States which likely also contributes to their sunny disposition.

Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are never going to be stable countries until there is a desire for plurality in each nation. No sole power on earth (especially the United States) can force that on people. We can, of course, protect the innocent and our interests as we are right now in Iraq but until we get the buy in from the world community, there is nothing to be done.

Blaming President Obama for all these problems and calling his policies a failure is ludicrous.