War Against ISIS
By Philip Harris Feb. 23, 2017
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, know as ISIS, ISIL, IS, or even Daesh is pushing the definition of war and conflict to its breaking point. The United States and allies invaded Iraq in 2003 to remove the dictator Saddam Hussein and to remove and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from the country. After the success the U.S. military had in those two goals, there were a lot of unemployed former soldiers of Saddam’s army.
These newly unemployed veterans of Saddam’s army created a shadow army to resist the western influence at all costs. They formed what was then called Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to use and insurgency campaign of ambushes, improvised explosive devices (IED), rocket/mortar attacks and guerrilla tactics against the occupying American forces. The U.S. figured out that new terror organizations were being formed in the absence of power that was left when the Saddam government was toppled. In 2007 the U.S. and allies surged large numbers of fresh troops into Iraq and all but destroyed AQI.
This part of the description of ISIS takes many different forms and theories. Therefore I am going to explain the main theories to how and where ISIS actually originated.
ISIS is so new and has such a different structured terror organization, they caught the world by surprise. From 2003 to at least 2013 the U.S. and allies were training, supplying and equipping the new Iraqi army to be able to secure and hold its own territory. This had no real effect on the Iraqi army because ISIS rolled through Iraq after setting up cells in neighboring Syria at the start of that revolution in March of 2011. ISIS took almost half of Syrian territory and about the same of Iraq’s territory and officially announced their caliphate (Islamic Sharia Law State). After the blitzkrieg attacks in Iraq and Syria and the announcing of the caliphate, their named changed to ISIS. Al Qaeda was deeply concerned by this because even Al Qaeda has condemned some of ISIS’s atrocities it has committed and is not anywhere near as radical as ISIS. Thus, ISIS, who started out as a sister to Al Qaeda was now separate and a competitor to Al Qaeda.
When two extremely large terror organizations are vowing for more loyal soldiers, the organizations compete to see whose terror attacks have the most political gain. This is a scary prospect for the international community because it just spend trillions of dollars defeating Al Qaeda and equipping a secular Iraq army, all for it to crumble in months. Basically the west has destroyed Al Qaeda just for ISIS to takes its place.
Throughout ISIS’s lighting offensives across eastern and northern Syria all the way to northern Iraq just miles north of Baghdad, ISIS seized a number of large cities in both countries. Remember all those soldiers of Saddam’s unemployed army? These soldiers are the backbone and the experience/knowledge inside ISIS and are the reason ISIS is very effective at looking and acting like a state with a government. That in turn causes youth and military aged men to flood to their ranks to become new recruits. These Iraqi army veterans helped seize Al Bab near Aleppo in Syria, they seized Raqqa known as their caliphate capitol, Palmyra was even a city of theirs for some time and have fought back and forth battles with the Syrian Army since both wars began. Their territory stretched from a few miles east of Aleppo all down the Euphrates river into Iraq and Ramadi. To the north ISIS has taken the majority of of the Iraq Syria border and controls the border crossing on both sides. The largest city ISIS took control of was Mosul in northern Iraq, which is currently under siege by the Iraqi army, their militia allies and of course support from the U.S. and coalition partners.
ISIS is very unique because they used social media platforms to spread their philosophies and mentality over the internet in extremely effective ways. The Islamic State has caused its followers and sympathizers to commit terror attacks in Canada, the United States, France, and many other European countries that if I were to list the page would run on forever.
The War against ISIS is just beginning. The air forces of so many different U.S. allies are pounding away at them at a never ending pace. Even with that pressure ISIS has shown it can still take new cities and ground, while recruiting new troops to make up for deaths on the battlefield. The only question that a lot of people and governments have is, because of the masterful skilled use of social media and recruiting, what happens to ISIS when they have zero territory left?