After more than 10 years in the middle east, the war on terror finally has a
unified face. ISIS has risen from the ashes of the Syrian conflict and the remnants of other Sunni muslim organizations to become one of the most powerful terrorist organizations in the middle east. With coffers supposedly totaling more than 2 Billion dollars and stolen American weaponry, they have become a serious threat to the future of Democracy, freedom, and literacy in the Middle East. They have destroyed several famous archaelogical sites, and looted every antiquity they can get their hands on. The real question in the upcoming days is what will America do to stop them?
On Thursday Obama held a press conference, in which he further stated his plans for continued air strikes on ISIS militants and id drops in the area. It also appears that th administration is making plans to begin air strikes in Syria where many of the ISIS leaders are hiding out. So far the US has mainly made strikes to protect vital infrastructure in Iraq, and save Iraqi tribesman stranded on a mountain by ISIS. The killing this week of American reporter James Foley has caused a pouring of outrage in this country. A source says that in upcoming weeks the number of strikes will continue to increase on a daily basis.
Where did ISIS get ahold off all this money? A good portion of it comes from the sale of looted antiquities and captured oil processing facilities. Undercover sources inside ISIS have also stated that they have many foreign Sunni benefactors including Saudi Arabian and Qatari royalty. A warchest of $2 Billion US dollars is greater than the GDP of several countries, and gives ISIS a huge edge over similar terrorist networks. It is also a powerful tool for the recruitment of new members.
Another large boon to their recruiting is ISIS' abundant use of social networking. They show many of their propaganda videos on sites such as Twitter and Instagram. The recent beheading of American journalist James Foley by a British National was posted to both of these sites. They also posted video of the execution of 250 Syrian soldiers thursday, and claim they will continue to do so until their "Caliphate" has been joined by the entire world. The incorporation of Sunnis in Iraq, who feel abandoned by the majority Shiite Iraqi government has led to another uptick in ISIS numbers. Until the Iraqi government finds a way to be more inclusive of Sunnis, many of them will continue to join ISIS.
Sites Destroyed by ISIS so far:Jonahs Tomb (biblical)
Looted the Mosul Museum
Mosul grave of Abu al-Hassan al-Jazari
Numerous Archealogical sites
Numerous Mosque and Shrines (some centuries old)