The Islamic State is in control of significant territory and resources in Iraq and Syria, including major oil fields in the region, with plans to expand their pan-Islamic caliphate throughout North Africa and the Middle East, including parts of Europe such as Austria, the Balkans and Spain, as well as western Asia.
By Georgiana Constantin l September 16, 2014
President Obama addresses the American people on his plan to combat ISIS on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
In growing numbers, citizens of Western countries are leaving their homes to fight alongside jihadists of the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In the U.S., Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated in a recent CNN interview, “We are aware of over 100 U.S. citizens who have U.S. passports who are fighting in the Middle East with [ISIS] forces. There may be more; we don’t know.” Some cities in the United States are facing serious problems. For instance, “over the past few months, as many as 15 young Somali-American men from the Twin Cities [Minneapolis-St. Paul] have traveled to Syria to join radical groups,” including a 29 year old father of nine, Abdirahmaan Muhumed, who was described as being “outgoing,” and “party loving” and simply not the type one might imagine a terrorist to be, as well as Abu Muhammad al Amriki, who claimed to have lived in the U.S. for 10-11 years. As of late, women also seem to have joined in the jihadi effort as “the latest person to leave Minnesota and travel to Syria to fight for ISIS is a 19-year-old Somali woman who had been living in St. Paul,” Jihad Watch reports.
Across Europe the situation isn’t much different. Cases of people spontaneously leaving their comfortable lives in the West to join ISIS abound here as well. In Germany, one of these cases is that of a man previously known as Denis Cuspert, who was apparently engaged in the hip hop scene in Berlin and is now “fighting for the extremist group Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) under the name Abu Talha al-Almani.” In Austria, “Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, are the daunting duo feared to be encouraging young Austrian girls to flee their country and take up arms in Syria to help ISIS spread violence,” the New York Post reports. The UK has recently found that not only are people leaving to fight for ISIS but also that “British female jihadis are running brothels full of women kidnapped and forced into sex slavery by Islamic State militants.” From Belgium, the latest ISIS “acquisition” seems to be young Younes Abaaoud, only 13 years of age. In France, Newsweek reports that, 16% of citizens support ISIS and many of them have already joined the terrorist group. And, unfortunately, the list might go on and on.
In fact, the Islamic State is in control of significant territory and resources in Iraq and Syria, including major oil fields in the region. Recently, however, social media sites have been flooded with images of what seems to be ISIS’ five year plan. “As well as plans to expand the caliphate throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and large parts of western Asia, the map also marks out an expansion in parts of Europe,” such as Austria, the Balkans and Spain, Mail Online reports.
The translated version of the Islamic State’s planned regional expansion of the pan-Islamic ‘caliphate’ (Walid Shoebat)
Walid Shoebat, a self-proclaimed former Palestinian terrorist turned Palestinian-American Christian, describes ISIS’ self-declared pan-Islamic caliphate over the coming decade as the 10-state solution, which we’ve been able to discern as follows:
- Orobpa: Balkan states, Hungary, Austria, Moldova, Romania and Black Sea Ukraine (Crimea-Odessa);
- Andalus: Portugal and Spain;
- Sham-Iraq: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel;
- Anathol: Western Turkey;
- Khurasan: Russian Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia), Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Eastern Iran, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Indonesia;
- Hijaz: Arabian Gulf States, Southern Saudi Arabia and Northern Oman;
- Al Kinana (Qinana): Egypt, Eastern Libya, Northeast Chad and Northern Sudan;
- Maghreb: Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania;
- Yaman: Yemen and Southern Oman;
- Habasha (Land of): Ethopia and Somolia.
One only need to observe how quickly Islamic propaganda is luring Western citizens into jihad and how the terrorist organization behind it has threatened most of Europe, Africa, Asia and the U.S., in order to arrive at the inevitable question of whether the Occident is moving too slowly in developing a viable strategy against the conquest and conversion by ISIS as it rampages across the Middle East.
Is ISIS issuing empty threats so the West keeps busy trying to asses the danger while they execute people and have the world shiver at their brutality? Or are we truly witnessing the worst terrorist threat in recent history?
This terrorist group has been talking about their plans to take back many parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, also making it clear that no one is to feel safe anywhere, while the quest for creating their pan-Islamic caliphate is on.
In the U.S., the question of how do deal with such perils has been going on for some time. Recently some were considering banning those who are fighting for ISIS from returning or even stripping them of their citizenship. In the UK, also, there have been talks about the option of a time limited ban that wouldn’t take their citizenship away. However, these measures seem to be quite controversial and are mostly considered unlikely solutions because of legal limitations.
On the other hand, after having declared that there is no strategy in place concerning ISIS, President Obama finally talked about the plan now underway to end the group’s reign of terror. “We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy,” he said in his September 10 White House speech. While some welcomed the oration and indeed believe that this is a time of reawakening for American leadership, others consider it a weak and ambiguous way to address the crisis, leaving too much room for interpretation, while lacking an actual clear course of action. ISIS is at war with the West, beheading Americans and Britons with impunity, yet the President of the United States refused to articulate that America is at war with ISIS.
Meanwhile, the Middle East and the West face real and imminent dangers as the terrorist group’s online propaganda seems to be luring in more and more young people from all over the world. These newly formed jihadists might die in battle for the cause of the global caliphate, as many have so far, or, they might return to their adoptive countries and try to cripple and eventually destroy these regions in order to complete their jihadist mission.
As the reality of the current international crisis starts to take shape in the minds and day-to-day affairs of people all over the world, one can only hope that solutions and not complacency will become the sine qua non.
Georgiana Constantin is a law school graduate who has studied International, European and Romanian law at the Romanian-American University in Bucharest and received her Masters from the Nicolae Titulescu University in Bucharest. Ms. Constantin, who is based in Romania, is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.