“Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.” John Adams.
ISIS is expected to be a threat for the long haul as they attempt to gain more territory and behead more prisoners. An International Coalition, led by the United States, has been established, bringing more than 20 countries together to fight against ISIS. Twenty two targets have been hit as a result of these Coalition forces offering fighter planes, Tomahawk missiles and Raptor bombing runs over Syria.
Officials have not given specifics as to the exact impact on ISIS or its leadership, other than to say that key buildings have been destroyed. It is known that the extremist group was ready for attacks, likely moving important leadership and high-end weapons into the civilian population.
An ISIS fighter reportedly spoke exclusively with CNN News, reaffirming that the militant group had been planning for the attacks and had backup locations in place. This fighter, speaking of coalition forces, taunted, “They thought they knew everything. But thank God, they don’t know anything. And God willing, we will defeat the infidels.”
Another fighter who defected from ISIS ranks said that some equipment was hidden in civilian neighborhoods, while more was tucked underground. This defector, Abu Omar, said that he found his chance to escape after the United States and Arab partners attacked the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, sending militants in every direction.
When Omar first talked with CNN, he tried to defend the horrific acts of the group, but finally admitted that “the brutality became too much.” He fears for his life and is haunted by the things he witnessed while under the regime. “There are a lot of youth who are joining – 14, 15 years old,” he remarked. “Maybe my voice can make them think again.”
So far, fighting ISIS consists of help with airstrikes from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan, with airstrike support from Qatar. Australia has offered eight F-18 fighter jets and special-forces to advise Iraqi troops. Belgium has also sent fighter jets, cargo planes, pilots and support staff despite their concern regarding retaliatory terrorism. Britain has six Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers on standby in Cyprus.
Canada sent about 70 troops who will serve as advisers to Iraqi security forces. The Czech Republic is coordinating with Canada in their provision of weaponry and fighter jets to the Iraqi Army and 500 tons of ammunition to Kurdish forces. Denmark deployed 250 pilots and support staff to the area, along with four operational planes and three reserve jets.
France helped with an airstrike on Sept 19 that hit an ISIS depot near Mosul. They also provided Kurdish security forces with weapons and training. However, France does not wish to provide help to Assad in the civil war, and consequently chose to physically stay out of Syria for the time being.
Germany sent military trainers to help Kurdish fighters. Italy provided valuable weaponry to Kurdish fighters and has agreed to help with assistance and support of airstrikes. The Netherlands promised six F-16 fighter jets. Albania, Estonia, and Hungary also provided weapons and ammunition.
Finally, Russia and Turkey are willing to help, but have yet to provide specific details as to what that help might look like. Russia, already allied with Assad in Syria, is in a tricky spot and will only move forward with Syria’s consent.
What’s missing in all of these agreements to help? The closest any country within the United States-led coalition has come to providing actual boots on the ground in this fight against ISIS is to offer training for Iraqi and Kurdish security forces. House Speaker John Boehner stated that Americans may have no choice but to send ground troops if no other country agrees to. He reiterated that “These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.”
Another concern is the possibility of ISIS-inspired attacks on our homeland. This very thing reportedly happened on Sept. 25 in Oklahoma.
A man by the name of Alton Nolen was charged with first-degree murder after beheading former co-worker Colleen Hufford. He was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon for attacking Traci Johnson at the same location. This incident occurred shortly after Nolen was released from his position with that food processing plant where the three of them worked.
While police have not found any direct link between Nolen and ISIS, it is believed that he may have been inspired by the proud social media postings made by ISIS rebels. News reports also stated that Nolen converted to Islam only a few months prior to this attack and tried to convert other co-workers before he was relieved from his job.
The Islamic Community in Oklahoma condemns the violence, reminding the public that “true Islam is a religion of peace, and that those inflicting violence in the name of Islam are perverting Islam for their own ends.”
Despite the similarity of Nolen’s terrorist-like attack to ISIS beheadings, the FBI is treating the investigation as “workplace violence.”
John Adams, second president of the United States and one of the founding fathers of our country, may have been right when he stated, “The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber or kill a flea.”