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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

US and other countries unite to respond to ISIS

“If the Islamic State (is) to be characterized, it would be as a revolutionary (or radical) insurgent actor,” said Yale Professor of Political Science & Director, Program on Order, Conflict and Violence Stathis N. Kalyvas in an article for the Washington Post. “These groups project a goal of radical political and social change; they are composed of a highly motivated core, recruit using ideological messages and tend to invest heavily in the indoctrination of their followers.”

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is an extremist group that can be traced back to al–Qaeda. Consisting of more than 30,000 Sunni jihadist fighters, this extremist group has gained wide recognition for its brutal treatment of prisoners and success in conquering Iraq.

“ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple,” said President Barack Obama in a public statement. “ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel, and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States.”

In an attempt to limit the progress of ISIS, the United States has conducted more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq while actively working to recruit nations to join the fight against the terrorist group.

“ISIS presents a more serious threat to the local Muslim and Arab government than to the United States,” said Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert Duncan. “The west is probably doing as much as it can without really muddying the water. The air attacks and providing logistical support, it’s about the best we can do. The U.S., NATO and European countries are trying to stop them, but the Arab countries aren’t stepping up.”

Currently around 40 nations have agreed to partake in a joint response to end ISIS’s reign of terror. The involvement ranges from training rebels in Saudi Arabia to providing military offensive and strategic forces to Iraq from Australia.

“We have to confront the menace (ISIS), in a calm, deliberate way — but with an iron determination,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron in an address to the nation. “We cannot ignore this threat to our security and that of our allies.”

Yet ISIS remains undefeated. So the question now is this: where does ISIS manage to gain all its support and finance?

Well, the terrorist group’s members are mainly foreign fighters that left their countries to join the collation.

According to Matthew Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, more than 12,000 people traveled to join the group, in which, around 1,000 were Europeans and 100 were Americans.

In a statement by the U.S. Treasury, ISIS, even after greater resolve to limit the progress of the organization, racks in near $1 million a day.

Key sources of this wealth include the Gulf States, oil fields and extortion. By capturing parts of the Saudi Arabian oil fields, ISIS makes a significant profit through smuggling and selling the oil into the black market. In addition, funding through wealthy individuals in the Gulf States — specifically Kuwait and Qatar — aids in filling ISIS’s treasury and through extortion the group has also managed to accumulate some profits. In its recent conquest of Mosul, the group took $420 million worth of Iraqi Dinar from the city’s main bank.

Although comprehensive military intervention cannot be conducted to control the influx of supplies to the group due to the spread of ISIS’s profit sources, nations in the coalition against ISIS are taking indirect measures such as cracking down on the oil smuggling and monitoring the movement of foreign fighters.

“There is no doubt that the jihadist movement and those who are going to be the leaders of ISIS will get legitimacy to the extent they attack the United States, so we have to be ready for that,” said Charles Hill, Professor of International Studies at Yale University, Minister in the U.S. Foreign Services and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East at the State Department, to the Guilfordian in a phone interview.

“ISIS can be victorious and that would eventually mean that the entire Middle East might drop out of international order and turn radically and violently against the rest of the world. Unless the United States and the major countries of the world that are responsible for international decent security do something more than they are now doing, ISIS might not fall.”

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