Sunday, 15 June 2014

"No, ISIS is not an

Egyptian god," I told a couple of friends yesterday. Although they are otherwise intelligent people they don't bother much with the news. One of them had just remarked that "ISIS sounds like an ancient Egyptian god."
Oh how much easier it would be if ISIS was just that - and could be condemned to the past.
It surprises me how little is known about ISIS - and how, until now, nobody seems to have been too concerned. There is still very little information in the actual news media. The World Cup seems to be taking precedence over everything else - and that could be a mistake. I am sure the leadership of ISIS is hoping that the world will keep its eye on the soccer ball and allow them to get on with their vile business unhindered.
ISIS is of course the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Their ultimate objected is an even larger Islamic state or "caliphate" which will stretch across the entire Middle East, including Israel - and then the rest of the world.
They are funded largely by illegal activities - the black market, arms trafficking, kidnapping, drug smuggling and extortion. They are more extreme than Al Qaeda and make people like Saddam Hussein and Bashar al Assad look less like the vile dictators they were and are. 
Yes, when a terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda condemns the level of violence of another group, it is surely time to start listening? Is it just that a different sort of war, one being fought over a round ball, is more important?
Of course there is frenetic activity behind the scenes now. There are high level exchanges going on around the clock. There are lower level diplomats, civil servants, military advisers and local contacts all talking and arguing about what should be done - and wondering how they let the situation get so out of hand.
And, even while all this is happening, there are people who are not prepared to give anything away. There are people who still want to retain power at all cost. The present government in Iraq is not prepared to confront the problem of religious division - because it would mean relinquishing some power.
When I had finished my brief explanation I could see that my friends did not feel too concerned. I know what their thinking is, "It's a long way from here and the situation will sort itself out. We shouldn't get involved in another war. It doesn't really concern us."
It is of course precisely that sort of attitude which allowed the situation to develop in the first place.
I just hope enough people take their eyes off that round ball for long enough to deal with the situation.


jeanfromcornwall said...

I just wish nobody had thought up that phrase "Arab Spring" - there is no hopeful blossoming to be had.

catdownunder said...

I have to agree.

Miriam Drori said...

I can't even say, "I told you so." I kept quiet. No one would have listened to me, anyway.

catdownunder said...

Nobody will listen to me either!