The war-drums are beating. Hysteria is spreading across the nation and reaching fever pitch! Al Baghdadi and his hordes of masked men are on their way to kill us all! Nobody is safe! First Syria, then Iraq, next … Australia? Poor James Foley is the sign of things to come. Soon white men everywhere will be losing their heads!
I must have missed something! Last time I checked the ‘Islamic State’ was not actually a state and the army of the non-state state barely warranted the title army.
I don’t mean to minimise the terrible acts of carnage that have taken place and I am thankful indeed that I’m not living in Northern Iraq at the moment but, looking at the big picture, Al Baghdadi and his crew are no more than a large band of mercenaries, drawn together from around the world through misguided religious zeal along with the usual lust for power and money. They have been funded by foreign investors and have managed to secure for themselves are large cache of arms and supplies. But they are a weed without roots! They are not a country with an ongoing flow of resources. They have no industry behind them, no government, no international trade agreements, and hence no future! They are a weed without roots. When the external funding dries up so will they! Like a weed scorched by the sun they will wither and blow away.
Oh, but have I forgotten that they’ve been enriching themselves by robbing banks and taking over oil fields?
Not at all! What difference does that make?
I appreciate that if me and a few mates rob a bank and run off with a fistful of money we can go to the next town and start spending that money, but if me and a few thousand mates completely empty a bank it’s not that simple. I can’t imagine that piles of stolen bank notes are going to going to be honoured by international bankers and if they’ve stolen thousands of ingots of gold who are they going to trade them with? Your gold is worth nothing unless you have someone to trade it with!
As for the oil fields, even if we assume that these mercenaries have within their ranks persons capable of managing the whole process of oil extraction and refinement, who are they going to trade with? Has Baghdadi been working on a pipeline agreement with Russia perhaps? Is the USA likely to start buying his oil if the price is right?
OK. I’m told that Baghdadi has already successfully traded some oil through the black market in Turkey (if selling your oil for $10/barrel when it’s sold on for $100/barrel can be called ‘successful’) but the UN has already made moves to crack down on this trade and that sort of black-market trade is never going to bring in the sort of income required to finance an army in the field, let alone a whole state! At any rate, how much effort would it take for the US and its allies to make sure that strict sanctions are put in place, completely curtailing the trading activities of this new state? Is it really cheaper and easier to bomb them all into oblivion?
Yes, there is another agenda at work here!
We cannot overlook the fact that ISIS/ISIL/IS was funded and nurtured from the very beginning by the West and its Gulf State clients. Recent publications on WikiLeaks make clear that back in 2007 Syria tried to persuade the US to join them in subduing these Al Qaeda affiliates but instead the US decided to use these militants against the Syrian government – funding them and training them in northern Jordan!
And we cannot overlook the fact that the US has been champing at the bit to once again take the reins of Iraq:
- Malaki simply didn’t perform as a US client. He resisted the presence of US military bases and didn’t favour US companies in the reconstruction of his country.
- Re-invasion gives the US a pretext for establishing an independent Kurdistan with a friendly government in the north of Iraq where most of the oil is.
- Ousting IS from Iraq can’t be done without purging them from Syria as well, and once the US military is inside the borders of Syria it won’t take long before they are in Damascus, toppling the Assad government as they had been trying to do up till now through the very people they are now trying to destroy!
Yes, there are lots of questions that should be being asked here but there is little space for rational debate when you’re constantly bombarded with images of beheadings and crucifixions and hearing young idealists screaming on about killing the infidel! Nobody seems to notice what is missing in all this rhetoric – namely, an Islamic State spokesperson talking about how his government is attempting to set up a long-term trading relationship with Ecuador! No, there are no discussions about long-term trade relationships with anybody because those who are pulling the strings know full well that there is no long-term!
I appreciate that Mr Foley’s murder was horrible and tragic but the death of two thousand people in Gaza was two thousand times more tragic, the deaths of two hundred thousand in Syria is two hundred thousand times more tragic, and the death of a million Iraqis has been a million times more tragic. The US has blood on its hands in every one of these arenas. Indeed, the hands of the US and its allies (including Australia) are not just blood-stained but blood-drenched and still dripping! And how much more blood will now be spilt once the whole process of re-invasion begins again? How many more Iraqis will die? How many more Syrians? And how many more Islamic State sympathisers will be created as the world watches the Western imperialist powers pursue their ambitions at the expense of the more Muslim peoples?!
No! Just cut off their funding! The Islamic State are a weed without roots. Once we stop the flow of money the Islamic State will dry up and wither and disappear. We in the West have nothing to fear from Al Baghdadi and his band of mercenaries but we have everything to fear from the whirlwind that will eventuate if Mr Obama’s dogs of war are let off their leash!
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Father Dave they was militia we called the world to stop them,now they are under the name of Islamic state ,tomorrow they will be an damned empire,the entire chaos I am a Muslim &hi understand my religion,I can kill an insect what about killing a human ,if the do not stop these terrorists ,say goodby to the civilization
I agree with all of your points and I appreciate you writing about this. Thanks!
Hi Father Dave,
Thank you for this very thought provoking piece you have written. I’m not so sure there is the thirst for war in the USA as you have written. However, anything is possible. I think we will see selective bombing and that’s about it. They (the USA) will eventually bomb selected targets in Syria too, but I don’t think they want to topple the current regime. I believe Assad is seen as the lesser and more preferred of two evils by the USA.
What are your thoughts on the current thinking in the UK where here we are told by the Prime Minister that the issue is when these IS fighters come back home to the UK, that they are ticking time bombs waiting to go off. Today he has introduced sweeping powers to detain and even refuse entry into the UK by suspected fighters. On face value this seems a legitimate concern from past recent history of other terror organisations and sleeper cells…
Lastly, this and all the wars in the middle east brings a BIG question to me – Is there a such thing as a ‘Just War’? I know it is written in scripture somewhere, but how is it interpreted in today’s conflicts? Or, were the scriptures talking about something completely different than the what we know as war?
Look forward to your insights and once again thank you for the recent publication.
Yours in the good fight.
All good questions, my brother. My thoughts are as follows:
Firstly, I don’t think most Americans have much of a thirst for war either. The economy though may demand it!
Secondly, I hope you’re right about Syria but I fear that the US has even more reasons now for wanting Assad gone – as a means to weakening Russia.
Thirdly, I think measures being taken by the UK government (and the Australian government and others) to arrest takfiri returning from Syria is eminently sensible. Of course it would have been more sensible still for our governments not to have (indirectly) supported these takfiri organisations in the first place.
Lastly, as to the possibility of a ‘just war’ (which is mentioned nowhere in the Bible but was developed as a theory by St Augustine), I believe such a thing is possible in theory. Even so, I’m not sure there have ever been any real-life examples. All wars seem to result from the same basic lusts for money and power, and that’s exactly what I see in operation in this case
Wow! So clever. I agree with everything. Thank you for this nice article. The next step is to seriously ask the Prime Minister why they are not cutting the sources of ISIS funding? Maybe they have already done that, and now that ISIS is weakening, western countries want to finish them to show it off and gain some popularity.
it seems to me there is a call to arms and how this can be seen as humanitarian, is beyond me.
Targeted attacks, supplying weapons, no end game/strategy. A stateless state called amongst others; ISIL/ISIS/IS. Depredation, children, lives lost dating back to a mess of baseless WMD and now military/states (western/eastern) of the willing being called to arms and to arm others: leaves me saddened and bewildered.
Throughout the history little horns or better to say little thorns rise and fall. In what condition they are formed we don’t know but if we use our logics, these thorns always supported by a group ran in the backstage of theatre scene. In case of isis, there is a great need of world coalition. Unfortunately National Interests of certain countries seems a barrier to motivate them to take an immediate action against beasts who savagely rip off the humanity. United Nations is weak and we must admit it. United Nations should have such power to suppress and even to eliminate such brutal activities. Just look around: isis is active in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the entire Middle East. They are active in Sudan, Nigeria,… as they call themselves Alshabab and Boko Haram. I am afraid tomorrow they claim to have a seat and spokesperson in the UN or USA Congress! World MUST take an urgent action just now…because tomorrow or the next hour might be too late.
You make some important points, Ben, but I would be careful about conflating IS with other jihadists groups around the world. As far as I know Al-Baghdadi and his crew are not in a working relationship with of the others.
You may have noticed that during the recent assault on Gaza not a word of criticism came from the so-called ‘Islamic State’! And why is this? Because IS hate Hamas as much as they do most of the other jihadist groups!
The history and dogma of IS and of Wahhabism need to be seriously studied and understood if we are to deal effectively with this people.
This is about the ideas and thoughts of extremists around the world and among them the recent one: isis. They shall be wiped out but their cruelties will remain in the History. Saudi Arabia supports Schools of Wahhabism as the Alqaida was their notorious group born from those seminary schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Why Saudi Arabia as extremist supporter is not on the head line [by the way]!?
among those beasts might be mercenaries but not all of them. the ideology has washed their brain that they cannot think independently and reasonably. what I can infer from these people is that among them they are:
-as you mentioned: mercenaries;
-Ideological brain washed;
-Political opposition groups;
-People who has lost their family members and they are looking for revenge;
-unemployed people and those who take advantage of situation to get something out of it;
-individual mentally disorder (sadistic, etc…)
-Thieves and murders ran out of jails
Hollywood is as guilty as isis since they are promoting war, sex, hijacking, all sort of violence, devils, etc…
just look back and remember the content and the message of movies in last few decades and compare it with nowadays. even cartoons are infected. how can we allow our children to watch these horrible things. Children are in the process of learning all the time. one bad thing like a bad seed planted in their brain and it will grow as they grow. then later they want to bit up others, being disrespectful, trying to imitate what they do in the movies, etc. we have something as censorship (good vs. bad). so good censorship is good. but why should we produce something wrong then we need to use censorship tool? movie makers produce not only for money but also to transform societies. they are educators and see what they teach!
isis individuals are those kids of yesterday that they were learnt wrong things. let us start to change the way of teaching and reap the good harvest in the near future.
where is the beauty and elegant dress of the old time? where is the good manner of speaking of the old time? where is manner and good conduct of the old time? wrong teaching brought us to this stage. wrong actions of money makers in huge factories contaminated the air and caused pollution in the air…storms, hurricanes, global warming, desieses, all caused by wrong human activities. I remember the sabbatical time for agriculture mentioned in the Bible. we need to give a rest to the earth, sea and the air. We cut the trees and instead we build and create gas. we fish everyday from the ocean and we don’t allow certain creatures to lay eggs and do their appointed task of biological cycle and recycle. we create smoke and harmful gas so much that the atmosphere cannot handle it. If whole the world at least once a week at the same time stop activities; if the whole world one day a week spend time in the nature and adore beauty of creation by restoring it, planting trees, feeding animals, etc and think about goodness of rest and peace; if the whole world once a week help and love one another…such a wonderful world we would have.
Arab springs evoked a swarm of isis wasps into Syria. As the conflict prolonged, isis became stronger and spread its roots wider and deeper. Actually it was the battle between Iranian supporters against Al-nosrah and other opposition groups. Each one claimed authority and dreamed of having Syria as their own. West supported opposition groups and Iran and Russia supported Syria. Infiltration and formation of isis in this between created a split among up-risers and Syrian opposition, until weapon and support of West fell under hands of isis. It brought a Hell in Iraq. Crocodile can not do much in the land but when water fills the lakes and river, they are in control. but there is always Hope…Prayers works wonderfully.