The saga of the Islamic state in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has taken the world by storm over the last two years and the world has not been the same again after their advent. The group was founded in 1999 by Abu Musab al-Zaraqawi. Zaraqawi was trained in Afghanistan, where he joined the fight against the Soviet Union in 1989. He is a Jordanian by birth and is known to have worked hands-in-gloves with Osama Bin Laden though he is not known to have joined al-Qaeda.
He fled to Iraq after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and worked in the shadows behind the klieg lights, targeting the Shiites population for their perceived heretic beliefs. He established the Jama’at al-Tawhid w’al-Jihad-which served as the way maker for today’s Islamic state after the Iraqi invasion by US led forces in 2003.
The group evolved in 2011 with structures and was branded as Islamic State of Iraq. It was the tactics, motives and drive of Zaraqawi, that Abu Bakr al-Baghdad took and turbo-charged them for effect. The group took on Assad of Syria and declared war on the largely Shiite ruling class in that country. They became a fighting force armed with the tenets of war and largely populated by elements of the Saddamic republican guards and commanders.
Atrocities and Jihad
The group launched attacks on several fronts, stretching from Iraq to Syria and took over oil wells, which became a major finance base for its operations. It also made money from ransoms paid from kidnapping of Westerners and other looting spree from its areas of operation.
The group’s campaigns and military assaults have not only displaced millions of people but its reverberations are been felt across the globe. Millions have been put to flight, able-bodied men, boys, women and girls have been decapitated, maimed, raped and killed.
From across the globe, volunteers have trooped to the middle-east to join this group as it has provided a springboard for propaganda through the Internet. Its destructive ideology has regrettably caught on with people from different backgrounds and has become a groundswell for its evil ramparts.
See the mind-boggling statistics;
• As at June 2015, 4 million people have been displaced
• 800,000 refugees expected in Europe in 2015
• Over 250,000 dead in Syria
• The largest movement of people in Europe since the Bosnia-Hercegovina war
• Destruction of archaeological sites across Palmyra and the ancient Nimrod civilization relics
• Forced millions of dollars in aid for refugees across European union
• Disrupted the daily life harmony in locations across Greece Island of Kos, Hungary and other entry points for refugees
Another Coalition of the Willing
In the year 2003, the term ‘’coalition of the willing’’ came alive in human terminology to describe the volunteer allied forces that decided to work with the US, to rout out the perceived machinations and government of Iraqi strongman, Saddam Hussein.
Looking back at the atrocities of ISIL over the last two years with its horrible effects, it is time for the world to come up with another coalition against the group’s menace. They have redefined the threats to modern society with their campaign of terror and ideology which manifests in terror attacks on both soft and hard targets across the world.
The Fort Bay attacks in the US, Charlie Hebdo killings, Port El Kantaoui killings and more, have been inspired by ISIL and they all represent the looming danger the world is now exposed to from the activities of this rogue regime. From a territorial campaign, ISIL have succeeded in extending their terror attacks beyond borders and have found support from ISIL wannabes like the West African group, Boko Haram and the East African terror group, Al-Shabaab.
Shaking the world out of its lethargy
The western powers are certainly war-weary and this shows in the type of campaign that they are presently waging against ISIL. Military air campaigns targeting ISIL targets and programmed to diminish their capabilities have had no lasting impact.
Political and national sensitivities in the US have deprived the leadership of the balls to put boots on the ground to fight ISIL. It is confounding that with the epic humanitarian crisis the world is witnessing right now, the numbness to take decisive action is yet to be overcome by NATO and its allied forces.
It is sufficient grounds at present to note especially that no East-West divide exist as to the menace of ISIL and the common grounds to tackle the group. It is as much threat to Russian interests, as it is to NATO and the rest of the world.
If the world did not fail to end the Second World War by rising up to the occasion to fight Adolf Hitler and his Japanese allies, with attendant human and economic sacrifices, then the time is now to put boots on the ground against ISIl. The price will be great but it is an initiative to preserve our common humanity.