Senior level people in the Obama administration seem to think that ISIS is some kind of joke, a low level group with grandiose goals and little means of achieving them. So while ISIS has continued to shore up its power-base and train its terrorists for global warfare, the President completed his vacation and continues his round of fund-raisers. The President and his appointed advisers continue to demonstrate their ignorance and incompetence when confronted by real world terrorists who have, under their noses, evolved into savages at war with civilization. The urgency that is now required to address the real and present danger represented by ISIS to the United States seems to be low on the list of Obama’s priorities.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the ISIS murderer of James Foley will be caught and tried in criminal court – a terrorist tried as a common criminal – is patently absurd and demonstrates a total misreading of the enemy and the threat that it poses. ISIS fighters must be the ones who are laughing. They see us for what we have become – a toothless tiger, nibbling around the edges of their growing conquest, taking out their convoys instead of their central command, fighting a bloody and murderous war with a little fire power and a lot of rhetoric. In the mean time, two American citizens have been identified as members of ISIS, killed in the fighting in Syria, and there are likely many more.
America could (but won’t) take a page out of Israel’s book as they fight for their own survival against ISIS’ little brother, Hamas. While they bomb rocket launchers wherever they find them, they also target the core leadership of the Hamas terrorist machine and in this regard have done great damage to Hamas’ command.
Their pinpoint strikes hit at the heart of the Hamas infrastructure, while avoiding civilian casualties wherever possible, and is totally consistent with their code of military conduct, called “Ruach Tzahal”,or the “Spirit of the IDF”. This is probably the world’s most stringent military code when it comes to concern for civilian life.
While largely ignored – or worse, demonized – by the erst of the world, Israel stands as a model of ethical conduct in war. Hamas, on the other hand, chooses to inflict heavy losses on its own people as both a deterrent to Israeli pilots, who are reluctant to open fire on civilians, and as a propaganda tool that Hamas can use by touting the growing number of casualties, which it skews to fit its purposes. Instead of protecting them, Hamas puts its civilians directly in harm’s way by using them as human shields against Israeli missiles, while securing their own safety in fortified underground shelters.
As Hamas supporters in Western countries continue to demonstrate against Israel as perpetrators of ‘genocide’, they won’t talk about the Israel’s efforts to spare civilian lives, or the crimes which Hamas has committed against its own people. How many of these demonstrators have even heard of Hamas’ murder of children and adults alike, who were impressed into helping build the massive tunnel system from which Hamas terrorists launched their attacks on Israel? In their twisted view of priorities and humane behavior, Hamas has admitted that at least 160 children died after being forced to work in the construction of Hamas’ terrorist tunnels. These children, prized by Hamas for their agility and small size, were not only forced into service in the tunnels, they died there, either from the sheer exertion that far exceeded their capabilities, or at the hands of their cruel Hamas masters.
Hamas is ISIS’ little brother. Both are savagely cruel to the people whom they control, those they hate, and those who get in their way, Both ISIS and Hamas have set their sights on the destruction of their perceived enemies. But while Hamas’ stated mission – enshrined in its charter – is sharply focused on the destruction of Israel, ISIS has declared its mission to be the creation of an Islamic caliphate that spans the globe. And one of their declared goals is flying the black flag of ISIS over the White House.
The imminent threat of ISIS lies in its commitment to its declared caliphate and to its radical view of Islam. Its explicit threat against the United States should give us pause. An unknown number of American jihadis, lured by social media, English publications produced by ISIS, and word of mouth, have been training and fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Most hold valid American passports and can return to the US at any time.
Meanwhile, at the southern border, “special customers” have been escorted across the porous southern border to the tune of $50,000 per person. For ISIS’ bloated financial resources, this is the proverbial ‘drop in the bucket’. ISIS is the wealthiest terrorist organization in the world, billions richer than al Qaeda ever was. So the legal re-entry of American citizen jihadis, combined with the illegal entry of foreign jihadis into the US across the Mexican border, ensures that their presence here is no longer a matter of speculation. They are here.
ISIS has announced that they are planning a major attack in the US. In a new English magazine called “Palestine”, they have called for attacks against major US cities, the Air Force Academy, and other iconic sites. If we are not concerned, we should be.
It may be – and probably is – that the brash talk about an attack in America that rivals or exceeds the impact of 9/11 is just that – talk. However, to dismiss their braggadocio or their intentions is plainly both foolish and dangerous. Our analysis suggests that an attack in the US by ISIS jihadis would look less like 9/11 and more like Mumbai: an attack on multiple sites, all crowded with people, many of whom are likely to be savagely brutalized and murdered. It does not matter that we do not think they can accomplish this. They think they can, and so they will try. The question is, will we be ready?
If we think it cannot happen here, we are fooling ourselves - tragically. And we will pay dearly for our unwillingness to leave our comfort zones and face the danger honestly, with the courage to prepare against it.
Mr. Obama: If you have not heard it before, this is a wake-up call to you and your administration. It is five minutes to midnight and America is likely to be attacked. Where will you be when history records what is about to happen? What will the history books say that you did to stop it?
Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst and provider of counter-terrorism security expertise to corporate and government clients. She is Editor of The Freedman Report. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org