(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/12/isis.jpg)As ISIS continues its brutal occupation of large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, effectively blurring the border between those two pseudo nations, a new, if not more menacing threat is emerging in North Africa where the Islamic State is looking to plant its cancerous roots.
In Egypt, the Sinai based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Islamist organization responsible for dozens of terror attacks throughout the country announced on its Twitter account that it had forged a union with ISIS and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed Caliph. ABM has mimicked the Islamic State’s macabre methods and has made use of social media to publicly broadcast grisly beheadings the group videotaped. ABM has also taken responsibility for the murder of America oil worker, William Henderson and was believed to be behind a deadly bombing attack in Sinai that killed over thirty Egyptian soldiers.
In Tunisia, the birthplace of the so-called Arab spring, ISIS has found a virtual recruiting ground for eager volunteers. Tunisia boasts the dubious distinction of being the nation that has contributed the most foreign fighters to Islamic State’s ranks, at least 3,000 according to published reports and many more have been prevented from joining by Tunisian authorities.
Algeria, a nation that experienced 10 years of brutal civil war between Islamists and government forces that claimed the lives of 150,000, is witnessing a resurgence of Islamic militancy. A group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah (“The Caliphate’s Soldiers”) has also recently sworn allegiance to al-Baghdadi. The newly formed group, which splintered from its al-Qaida affiliate, was responsible for beheading a French national in September after ISIS issued a call for the killing of nationals belonging to countries contributing to US led coalition strikes against the Islamic State.
As evidenced by the Iraqi and Syrian experience, ISIS thrives in an environment where lawlessness and chaos prevail and Libya, which saw the overthrow of Kaddafi in 2011, has provided the Islamic State with fertile ground to carry out its objectives and spread its ideology. Libya’s central government is weak and has been unable to exercise any meaningful authority over the country, which has witnessed the rise of a plethora of militia groups with various Jihadist affiliations.
The Libyan town of Darnah, situated on the Mediterranean coastline just south of Crete and east of Benghazi is currently under the complete control of a Jihadist militia that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. It is also first town known to be under ISIS rule in North Africa. The allure of ISIS in the Muslim world coupled with the lawlessness that characterizes the current state of affairs in Libya makes it a near certainty that other Libyan enclaves will sooner or later come under Islamic State influence.
President Obama has yet to publicly address the growing threat of ISIS in North Africa and given his past foreign policy fiascos, the prospects of this administration forming a coherent strategy to deal with this looming crisis just south of Europe’s vulnerable underbelly is in serious doubt.
It has widely been acknowledged that the emergence of ISIS as a growing and influential force in the Muslim world is largely due to Obama’s failed policies in the region.
Despite the urging of congressional leaders and other intelligence officials, Obama stubbornly refused to provide aid to moderate groups opposed to Assad until it was too late. His risible “red line” threat after Assad’s usage of chemical weapons against his own populace proved to be nothing short of a colossal foreign policy embarrassment. Faced with a loss of hope, Syrians opposed to Assad gravitated to extremes. In Iraq, Obama continued to provide assistance to Nouri al-Maliki’s government despite the fact that Maliki instituted discriminatory policies against Iraq’s Sunni population which exacerbated already heightened sectarian tensions.
A confluence of events in Syria and Iraq created the ISIS Frankenstein and Obama was instrumental in its creation. He then compounded his error by dismissing the threat posed by ISIS, pejoratively referring to the group as the “JV team.” To make matters worse, the ISIS offensive prompted a panic-stricken Obama to send a letter to the Islamic Republic’s “Supreme Leader” Khamenei, suggesting that the two nations cooperate in their fight against a common foe. Khamenei incidentally, is the same man who authored a step-by-step instruction guide on how to destroy Israel and this is the man Obama wishes to do business with.
In 1942, American and British troops landed in French North Africa in an invasion that would ultimately culminate in a pincer action that would see the defeat and ejection of fascist forces from North Africa. Seventy-two years later, fascism is once again rearing its head in the region. Unfortunately, the leader who presides in the White House today is paralyzed with fear, indecision and incompetence and prefers to appease and accommodate evil rather than obliterate it.
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