The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is making quite a name for itself–but maybe not in the way that it would prefer. New reports are saying that the U.S. and U.K. are putting together a team of elite black ops agents to target ISIS. According to sources for the U.K. paper, Mirror, this highly specialized team (known as “Task Force Black”) will consist of agents from the U.S.’s CIA, Delta Force and Seal Team 6, and the U.K.’s Special Air Service, MI5 and MI6.
By utilizing this task force the governments of both the U.S. and U.K. are hoping to avoid having to send ground troops into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. There was a similar black ops operation that fought al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq with tremendous success. U.S. and British government officials hope the same will be true with this renewed Task Force Black, as it takes on what appears to be the most ruthless and sophisticated Islamic terrorist group the world has ever seen.
According to reports, the U.S. has limited knowledge of ISIS. Its evolution from a branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq to a much more sophisticated, organized and highly funded group has taken the U.S. intelligence community by surprise. As Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, said in a conference last Friday, “They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded…This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.”
This is how bad ISIS is–several Islamic groups and Islamic states have distanced themselves from ISIS because of their extremely violent and brutal tactics. Even al-Qaeda in Iraq, the one time “parent” organization of ISIS, has denounced its tactics. And the Political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, has recently asked that Hamas not be compared to ISIS, because Hamas does not agree with how they operate (mainly because ISIS willingly targets civilians–something that Meshaal claims Hamas tries to avoid). The President of Indonesia–the world’s largest Muslim country–recently said that ISIS is “embarassing” and called on other Islamic leaders to reject their radical ideology. Even Syrian officials have offered their help in fighting ISIS. Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem, recently said they would cooperate with any international efforts to fight Islamic State militants. So you have Hamas and al-Qaeda distancing themselves from ISIS, and Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia all denouncing ISIS and showing concern for the brutality consistently displayed by this group. This is why I said in the beginning of this post that ISIS is making a name for itself, but not necessarily in the way it would like. This certainly doesn’t bode well for future recruitment efforts.
I am in no way a war hawk, but I’m not a total pacifist either. War and/or military conflict should be avoided at all costs, but if ISIS is as bad as intelligence and military officials say they are, then the we need to do something. Not just the U.S.–the whole world. And if several Muslim countries and Islamic groups are denouncing the violent and brutal tactics that ISIS utilizes, then they need to step up and do more than just say they don’t agree with ISIS. Stopping this horrific group has to be an international effort. If it is just the U.S. or just “western” nations that go after ISIS, that will likely aid ISIS in their recruitment, because they will be able to spin it as an attack on Islam. But if this is a joint international effort, with the aid of Muslim nations, then that will likely send a strong signal to ISIS that the world isn’t going to put up with their brutal bullying.
Beyond assembling the Task Force Black, it has also been reported that the Obama administration is reaching out to other countries to try to build a coaltion to go after ISIS. However, after the fiasco that was the Iraq War, many nations are weary to join a new “coalition of the willing”. Obama has been rounded criticized for his lack of response to many major international issues over the last few years–jusitifiably so–but he really needs to assert himself this time. Ignoring problems because you are afraid of making the wrong decisions about how to deal with them won’t make those problems magically disappear. This terrorist group is no joke, so it is time for Obama to be a real leader. He needs to be decisive, confident and unwavering. Effective leaders inspire others not because they always make the right decisions, but because they believe in what they are doing. Part of the reason why some nations may be hesitant to help the U.S. combat ISIS is because they haven’t seen real leadership on the part of the United States and President Obama. It’s time for him to be the leader the world needs right now.