ISIS, nimble and frightful

Original content created by Lina Abisoghomyan
Photo Credit: NY TImes

Photo Credit: NY TImes


Islamic Militants- ISIS formed as a result of a power vacuum in a broken system previously monitored by the US. Many militants were recruited in American detainment centers, where they met their comrades and developed strategies for getting back at the Americans as soon as they got out.

The Americans- The involvement of the United States in the Middle East from all the way back to the Iraq war, and the Afghan war has created a strong presence- and a common enemy. The Americans have been in the region so long that it is impossible to disregard their presence and its effects. 

The regionally proximal countries- have been faced with an increased threat as the Islamic State makes headway though Iraq and Syria, and presses up against the Turkish border. 


The evolution of radical Islamist movements to the present day has been drastic. The radical terrorists had been weakened by the American campaign, and that there was nothing to worry about. What was left out of the equation here was the concept of recruitment. True, the US has superior technology and military capabilities than any other country in the world, but as seen in the example provided of the Nairobi shopping mall explosion, radical Islamists know how to work on their turf. The view about al-Quaeda’s central leadership being weakened and concerned for their own safety seems like a valid truth, but then there’s the piece of foreign recruits. This is the single most dangerous tool of the radical Islamists. To be able to attract Westerners to fight in this radical religious war poses a much longer-term threat of people that can return inconspicuously to their home in the West and go unnoticed as sleeper cells.  The withdrawal in Iraq left a power vacuum. This shows that, though the short-term job had been done, the long-term stability had not been secured. In fact, those that had been detained in one place by the Americans networked to form what we now see today as ISIS. 


The idea that an entire network, as presented by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, can be dismantled by killing the leaders and faces of the movement seems bogus.  It would be impossible for such a complex network to structure itself in a way that made it so direly dependent on one man. On addressing the idea of geopolitical strength,  we have already seen that ISIS does not need to physically be present in the US to be very clearly visible on the world stage. In fact, it may be smart to remain in a region of the world that is their ‘home turf’ so that dismantled governments and helpless surrounding nations may insulate them.

Arab countries in the region must stand firmly against this form of radicalism. Peace can only come with a strong stance by those that this new form of Islamic radicalism affects the most directly- other Muslims.