Things have been really awful for some time now. Horrendous. Here in this region we’ve had the murder of an American ambassador by a group Obama previously claimed had been undone; the wholesale murder by Assad of Syria of tens of thousands of his own people; the heartless and manipulative use of human shields by Hamas in a manner that they parlayed into something of a PR victory – because dead babies “sell.” And on, and on, and on. Those of us who don’t have blinders on have been watching, and asking, in anguished tones, “Don’t they get it?” There has been so much apathy, such refusal to confront painful realities.
Well, folks, I believe something has now shifted. Now in Syria and Iraq there is ISIS (aka IS, ISIL), which has beheaded Westerners and marched hundreds of people to their deaths by wholesale shootings, all on video. They have declared a state that is a “caliphate,” to be run according to Sharia law – with declarations of intention of expanding that caliphate.
And there’s something else happening that makes ISIS more frightening for Western nations: Muslims from their own citizenries have gone to fight with ISIS and will be returning radicalized and ready to do damage from within. Damage? Wreak terrorism.
Have we hit bottom? Not sure, but I’d like to think so – would like to think it isn’t going to get even worse. Whether this is the case or not, what I am seeing is that it has gotten sufficiently horrendous so that people are now getting up from their chairs and rousing themselves.
And so, it’s very horrible, but there are just glimmers, sparks, of hope.
Very briefly, what we are seeing happen:
Obama is very reluctant warrior. But he’s assuming the stance of warrior in a manner that most of us never believed we’d live to see.
As Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish, said recently:
“Winston Churchill, quipped, ‘The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.’
“It’s not true of the United States, but it is true of Barack Obama who, having exhausted every alternative that involved appeasement or pretending that ISIS wasn’t a threat, has decided to do the right thing.” (Emphasis added)
Will he do the “right thing” with sufficient strength? There is reason to doubt this, precisely because he remains reluctant. He’s committed at the moment to airstrikes only and not to boots on the ground.
As Mark Steyn wrote:
“When it comes to war, he [Obama] suffers from an additional burden: before he can persuade anybody else, he first has to persuade himself. And he can’t do it.”
But his turn-about, I suspect, has genuine significance, none-the-less.
Now 30 countries have come together in Iraq to discuss what to do about ISIS. There is a determination here – a sense of urgency – that hasn’t been reflected in international attitudes towards Syria’s civil war and other crises:
“Diplomats from around the world pledged to fight ISIS militants ‘by any means necessary.’
“An American official said Sunday several Arab countries had offered to conduct airstrikes, speaking on condition of anonymity…
“…’The threat is global and the response must be global,’ French President François Hollande said, opening the diplomatic conference intended to come up with an international strategy against the group. ‘There is no time to lose.’
What we are seeing then, with all of the political machinations and problems (about which more below), is a suggestion that the world may be waking up.
Israel has come out fully supportive of Obama’s efforts. While we will remain in the background on this, the current scenario puts us on the same side as the US and multiple other nations – there is less of a tone of “Israel vs. the world.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, in Prague last week, told Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (emphasis added):
“When Islamic State reaches Europe, everyone will understand what Hamas meant for Israel. We must eradicate Islamic terrorism for the good of humankind.”
We’re not talking about Israel’s problem, we’re talking about a world problem – one that Israel shares with others.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gave a speech in the Senate last week in which he condemned Hamas and declared it to be no better than the Islamic State (ISIS).
Reid called the failure to condemn Hamas as one would condemn the Islamic State group “stunning hypocrisy.” (Emphasis added)
Before turning to the situation closer to home, I did want to mention one other factor here: It would be a danger of considerable dimensions if the global concern about ISIS were to eclipse concern about Iran – which has not been nearly strong enough in any event. Or if action against ISIS were to put Iran – which is on the verge of getting the bomb – in a better place.
Claire Lopez expresses concern that Obama will end up supporting Iranian puppets in Iraq and Syria in the process of weakening ISIS.
Here in Israel, I confess to being amused by the problems generated for the Palestinian Authority by the global focus on ISIS: The Palestinian-Arab problem is no longer the focus of world concern. Shock. Horrors.
But they keep trying:
“Speaking to the Fatah television channel, Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that the reason behind the extremism in the Middle East was the continued Israeli occupation, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the ‘terror acts’ committed by Israel and the settlers, the report further added.
“Meanwhile Adnan Damiri, the official spokesman for the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, has urged the United States and Europe to form a coalition against what he called ‘the terror of the Israeli occupation.’”
Does anyone take these clowns seriously?
I’ll be following with a great deal more on what Abbas is doing, hopes to do, says he’ll do, might do.