Over the weekend, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) declared the establishment of a new Islamic nation, or caliphate, encompassing conquered portions of eastern Syria and northern Iraq. Demanding allegiance from Muslims worldwide, a spokesman for ISIS announced that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was the new caliph. There’s little chance that this took place on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by accident.
I’m not holding my breath for an apology from those who charged that articulating concerns over the advent of an caliphate was a right-wing conspiracy theory advanced to foment Islamophobia, by the way.
Other Islamic nations in the region are concerned, and they ought to be. ISIS supporters are distributing propaganda on social media indicating its next targets are Jordan and Saudi Arabia; the destruction of Israel is on the agenda as well, of course. Several graphic representations of the group’s intended areas of conquest are circulating online, one showing a region that stretches from western Africa to Indonesia, including Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India.
While the outrage of Americans is growing over a major border crisis orchestrated by the Obama administration, a plethora of serious scandals and the unfathomable level of deceit and impudent overreach of this president, the rest of the world has to be considering the import of events in the Middle East. The snappy, new, black uniforms, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and belt-fed weapons visible in countless photos of ISIS members only underscore what I already know – and what world leaders must also know.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah criticized ISIS and its Iraq campaign, calling them “a handful of terrorists” who have been “lured in by false calls.” According to The Times of Israel, the ultra-conservative Sunni Gulf kingdom is fortifying the 505 mile border it shares with Iraq. Earlier, we learned of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s willingness to work with outside enterprises – even the U.S. – to stem the tide of ISIS.
How, I wonder, is Russian President Vladimir Putin – who supports Bashar al-Assad in Syria and against whom Obama has backed neo-Nazi factions in Ukraine – interpreting events in Syria and Iraq? Or the Chinese, who have exponentially increased their economic stake on the African continent in recent years? I can’t imagine leaders in the European Union taking anything but a dim view of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Sunni Muslim fanatics who behead other Sunni Muslims for not being “militant enough.”
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