Let me start by saying that the title of this piece does not reflect my personal opinion. I believe no matter what you call them, ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State, that they are everyone’s problem. I do however feel the title may be reflective of how President Barack Obama feels, or at the very least used to feel about the terrorist group he now only refers to as ISIL.
Much has been made as to what is behind the president’s apparent insistence on only referring to this terrorist organization as “ISIL”. Some of the most suspicious among you believe it is a way of attacking Israel’s sovereignty, by recognizing their pursuit of the entire Levant, the area of land represented by the “L” in the name of ISIL. I personally disagree with this assertion. I believe there is something more political behind the President’s language. “ISIS” stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria while “ISIL” stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Subsequently the Levant covers significantly more territory. It also represents the rapid growth of this ambitious and very vicious terrorist organization.
As the Islamic State continues to grow it becomes an even more viable threat to the United States and its allies. Obama, a president who seems to be ultra-isolationist, has basically made it clear that he believes Iraqis, Kurds and Syrians need to fight the main battle against the terrorist group in Northern Iraq and Syria. He has spoken of its containment at least as often as he has spoken of its destruction. It may be that in the eyes of this administration successful containment means the difference between calling it ISIS or ISIL.
Being a president with a tendency of putting appearance over substance, once the terrorists became strong enough to call themselves ISIL, Mr. Obama had the justification within his isolationist logic to get involved in the fight. He has openly said that part of his strategy is leaving it to the locals to deal with once ISIL gets contained and shrinks back down to a more localized problem. Perhaps then it will once again be referred to as ISIS. If this group threatens the entire “Levant” or beyond, we can get involved, but once it only threatens Iraq and Syria it’s their battle to fight.
If this is indeed the President’s logic, it is a dangerously flawed one. An organization such as this one, with its ambition and financial means, will never be satisfied remaining in the area of Iraq and Syria. Ultimately it will go after Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf states, and of course most viciously Israel. All of this is only a means of furthering its global ambitions. Furthermore, as all experts have been saying, it already poses a serious and dangerous terrorist threat to westerners at home and abroad.
Rather than worrying about whether or not it is called ISIS or ISIL, I hope this president mainly sees it as a dangerous and growing problem that needs to be eliminated at all costs. Anything else should be seen as unacceptable.
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