Monday, February 16, 2015

ISIS Distracts and The World Reacts

(modified and updated for the new publishing date)

The Islamic State continues to capture the world media headlines with senseless beheadings of any victims they lay their hands on, pushing horrific mass murders out of sight and out of mind. The ISIS cruelty and barbaric acts are desperate attempts to attract attention and spread fear. They mask the terror group’s substantive expansion and drive the media to ignore real crimes committed by sitting tyrants.

This leaves the door open to world-class murderers and mobs engaged in mass killings, to uproot entire populations and intimidate the weak while those who can act and make a difference are too busy reacting aimlessly to ISIS’ drama.

The results are knee-jerk reactions, shows of force that appease emotions temporarily and distract from the real problems at hand. The media focus on ISIS allows criminals to get away with their murders, or worse, plan and execute new ones.

The recent Jordanian reaction to the burning alive of a pilot is a good example of a reaction to pacify an angry population without long-term objectives.

In the immediate aftermath, there was renewed shuttle diplomacy and talk of western efforts to strengthen Iraq’s sovereignty and seek a more visible Kurdish role for a possible lasting solution and stability for the entire region. This would have been a positive sign if the failed examples of western inaction or badly timed actions were not abound.

In Yemen the Shiite extremist Houthis are now in control while Libya is fast becoming ISIS’s new headquarters. Egypt’s military bosses have hijacked the revolution. They are basking in Russian support and amassing individual gains rather than working towards national or regional interests.

On the Syrian front, Bashar al-Assad remains in power while his forces kill and maim much more than ISIS ever did or ever will. The U.S. is now suggesting a power-sharing scenario between Assad and the opposition. There does not seem to be a plan for the millions of Syrian refugees scattered around the region, nor a clear plan to defeat ISIS there.

While ISIS distracts the world with bloody theatrics, tyrants run amok to keep their clout, while oblivious Gulf countries deal with the threats as a nuisance and act as if they are far away and safe from it, and western countries provide empty lip service.

If the fight is not taken to ISIS directly, fierce, door-to-door, and costly, the nightmare of the Islamic Caliphate will soon be a reality that will threaten everyone without exception.


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