ISIL: A Terrorist Organization Like No Other

June 20, 2014
Vehicles Seen Burned on a Street in Mosul, Iraq After an Attack by ISIL
President Obama has been very clear that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a threat to the Iraqi people, to the region, and to U.S. interests.  We are convinced that the only way to fight ISIL is through strong coordination by Iraqi leaders across the full spectrum of Iraqi society and with the support of the surrounding nations.
 
This isn’t a question of choosing sides in Iraq.  As Secretary Kerry said on June 19, “ISIL is a vicious terrorist organization with a proven agenda of violence, and its expressed aim is to take territory and terrorize the Iraqi people.” The President’s order to send military advisors to Baghdad is part of our continuing commitment to the people of Iraq to face down this threat.
 
ISIL’s brutal tactics have raised the specter of sectarianism and proven time and time again that its real agenda is the destruction and dismantling of the freedoms and rights that the institutions of the Iraqi state should provide.  Its history of betrayal, infighting with erstwhile allies, and political failures will doom its terrorist agenda to failure, but not before trying to subject the Iraqi people to yet another cycle of violence and grief.
 
More recently, in Syria, ISIL has fought and killed respected moderate rebel leaders and has even fought its own sister terror organization, Jabhat al-Nusra.  ISIL has tried to hijack the Syrian revolution, and just like the Asad regime, is attacking rebel towns, fighting rebel forces, and torturing Syrian activists.  Rather than fighting to liberate the country from the Asad regime’s brutality, it is trying to destroy any trace of the Syrian revolution by imposing its own brand of oppression against the Syrian people.
 
And ISIL is trying to expand its destructive agenda to Iraq.
 
All Iraqis -- and all of Iraq’s friends and neighbors -- have a vital interest in mounting an effective response to the threat ISIL poses.  The United States will continue to work with a broad spectrum of Iraqi leaders and regional allies to advance stability in Iraq, support an inclusive political system for all Iraqis, and neutralize ISIL’s terror agenda.
 
About the Author: Ambassador Alberto Fernandez serves as Coordinator for the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).

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Comments

don a.
|
Trinidad and Tobago
June 21, 2014
Democracy should be the moral conscience of any given state
Carlos H.
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Pennsylvania, USA
June 21, 2014
.Learn from past mistakes. What is the US strategy to prevent ISIL from advancing? By the facto, Iraq and Syria cannot longer be called States when their central governments cannot govern their land and their citizens are so divided by ethnicity and religion. Work with Russia to bring stability to the region. Do not make deals with Iran. Any deal with Iran will strengthen its position in the Middle East as a regional power.
Bruce K.
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United States
June 23, 2014
ISIL is a creature of the Saudis and by extension, the British. As long as the State Department has a policy of refusing to criticize these actors, there is no solution in sight.
Daniel W.
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Pennsylvania, USA
June 23, 2014
I am watching this situation with great interest. It is my perception and belief that the rudiments of Middle Eastern conflict stem from continuous sectarian alignment. Interestingly it appears that US Policy in these matters has been based upon a long history of simply choosing sides within internal borders while failing to recognize the history, globalized dilemma and impact of these choices. This was not a problem until subsequent to World War II, yet it has become a problem ever since. For instance, our stated policies of desiring full and fair elections simply ignores the historic background of the region. Then, when it appears that a fairly elected individual does not meet our full expectations (again without looking at the historic perspective on why it never would occur) we are all to often calling for their resignation or expressing extreme dissatisfaction with their performance [e.g.: Maliki and Karzai]. This clear failure to acknowledge that a divided ethnic history exists simply creates the appearance of chaotic, unscripted and wavering US policy. Applied to the current situation, ISIL appears to be largely control by Sunni Muslims who are at odds with their Shiite neighbors. In addition, Iraq has a significant Kurdish population which is a very real concern to ethnic Turks. As a result, ethnic violence within artificially bound countries (established largely by European mandates under the treaty of Sevre) obviously appears to be the root cause of these issues. Simply by taking a position that borders can not change (as we have done with respect to the Crimea) fails to reflect the dissimilar makeup of controlling ethic majorities and begs for the minorities backlash against the majority (as well as a backlash against the United States). By failing to deal with other options related to ethnic acknowledgement we have unfortunately painted ourselves into a perpetual corner. A relatively simple solution in this case would be to allow Sunni autonomy via confederation as we permitted and sought in response to the ethnic divisions in the former Yugoslavia. I am not sure why this third option has not been explored as a simple alternative to quelling the violence in the Middle East but there is a long history for successfully employing this tract. I hope this is given some serious thought by our leaders as they weigh their options, and exercise their influence within the region.
Mariam S.
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Arizona, USA
June 24, 2014
This may seem minor in the face of world problems but I just received my new passport and am surprised that in this day and age the passport lists "sex" (which is an act ) when is should list "Gender"to denote male or female. . This may be my last passport since this is my 80th year but it will be interesting to see how long it takes a government agency to fix this error. Wishing you Speed!
Bill T.
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Maine, USA
June 24, 2014
I would like more information, more detail to form a better scope of what is going on in the mideast
Derek S.
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Virginia, USA
June 24, 2014
ISIL: A Terrorist Organization Like No Other? Regardless that ISIL (ISIS) evolved from the residual elements of AQI, the title infers too much. While emitting a more "controlled" type violence the varying factions of the IRA were just as divisive as ISIL. If anything, the uniqueness of ISIL lies in the fact that they are: 1) generating a local conflict into a regional issue; 2) stealing the goal of AQ Core to (re)manifest an Islamic caliphate; 3) energize the sectarian nature of Iraqi politics; 4) bringing the invalidity of the Sykes-Picot line into a greater relevancy; and 5) causing such a ruckus forcing formerly polarized states (U.S. and Iran) into considering varying degrees of joint/multi-national efforts to counter the threat of one or more potentially failed states. In a nutshell, ISIL is doing more with less. This is not praise; but to offer how powerful violent extremist organizations can further disrupt an already complicated environment.
Eric J.
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New Mexico, USA
June 24, 2014
I realize the President would much rather be tweeking American domestic policy to get a few things through Congress, than "confront" ISIL (ISIS...or any other wanna be jihadi that can't be bothered to go home and take care of his mother as a better alternative.) Sec. Kerry used the term "confront" as an intent of US policy towards ISIL....All I can say is I hope there's more to it than that... in policy goals ...inclusive of using the term "ISIL" in the past tense, as being one with the dustbin of history. We have one advantage by circumstance and that's that a good 80% of the world's terrorists have gathered in Syria and Iraq, and it's about time we held a multilateral regional rodeo and rounded them all up.....hog tied if need be. Might as well grab Assad too, you'all will want a rodeo clown...stuffed in a barrel for fun. Call it "Cowboy diplomacy". Folks , I don't mean to be flip....but I have yet to see anyone make of this the opportunity that's been presented to the international community on a golden platter.... Recently the world stage has seemed to be having an "open mic" night, to see who can become the absolutely foulest, most offensive kareoke singer in the house trying to do a sad, sad rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "machine gun"...causing panic toward the exits... Most folks just want peace, not this... I wonder if Mr. Putin feels like he's been "one upped" in his status as world's leading "d-;-head" (as a diplomatic fellow described him not long ago). Well here's his golden chance to actually put Russia's troops into action to remove Assad (peacefully if possible), and help set the stage for a good 'ol fashioned "a*^$ Whuppin' of ISIL, by every single nation in the region, acting in concert....with the probable exception of the Iranians as they "got issues"...and can't seem to get over themselves. But to do this folks, the international community has to have the proper attitude...along with Iraqis of all tribes and beliefs who simply want to raise their children in peace and make a living. Fact is we have to find a way to challenge ourselves to do right by each other...Malaki has the opportunity to make good on Iraq's promise, as does Putin , if he truly seeks a well respected and influential Russia on the world stage. You'all (the powers that be among nations) have 10 million displaced needing to go back home to rebuild their lives...they challenge you far more than my words here could ever inspire. Another 40 million world-wide. Long time ago when the Arab Spring started a fellow know on Dipnote as "John in Greece" asked me if it would turn into a bloodbath....I don't know that anone including the UN has been keeping track of how many have died in the region since this all started.... The US provided critical support to the Libyan people when faced with Ghaddafi's wrath, in concert with NATO allies, and the EU. Removed a dictator from power helping the people get some justice and freedom. Now they gots to make something of it better than what they had. Iraq isn't dissimilar in this respect, nor will Syria be, sans Assad. Democracy is not a placebo for the masses. Folks are finding out how hard it is to protect democratic freedom once they got a taste of it. Runs the risk of upon ridding themselves of a dictator , being like everyone wants to have a revolution and become dictator...and run roughshod over people's good nature in the process. We do a pretty good job of removing dictators, defeating insugents, and taking the fight to a self declared enemy. It's the follow-up we have trouble with... I can't imagine how quickly this terrorist org would remain in buisiness if all (except Iran) of Syria and Iraq's neighbors were to "borrow" Syrian and Iraqi territory to attack ISIL upon...technicly cross Syria and Iraq's border with massed armed forces on a specific mission , once completed to return to bases. The mission being two-fold w/ US air support; to eliminare ISIL as a threat and remove civilians from harms way and provide aid to them. If the Russians can't or won't remove Assad, then it's probably time to give him and his family "72 hours" to leave Syria and give up power, and I'm not too sure if that's being too generous or not. Put the big squeeze on ISIL from all corners by all concerned, till there's nothing to be concerned about from them. The faster they are defeated, the less permanent damage to society will take place. EJ
Eric J.
|
New Mexico, USA
June 26, 2014
Miriam S. in Arizona, I'm just a citizen like you , but I got a hunch that the State Dept would probably refer you to the Dept. of Homeland Security as the agency in charge of personal passport data entry requirements. (chuckle)

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