I searched for the word ISIS and I got 228 million search results. Then searched for the word ISIS in Iraq just to make sure I excluded results related to the Egyptian Goddess ISIS and the search result was 176 million.
The internet is captivated by the Islamic State formerly known as ISIS. So are TV networks around the world which cannot go half an hour without saying something about ISIS or the Islamic State. Printed papers are too captivated by the group.
The most obvious reasons are probably their acts of killings that include beheadings of their captives. But there must be something more to it as acts of beheadings, killings and cruelty across the world are far more frequent then those carried out by ISIS.
The Taliban for example has been killing people in that manner even before the 9/11 attacks that were followed by NATO invasion of Afghanistan leading to more acts of beheadings. Some are indeed state-sanctioned as is the case with Saudi Arabia. So there is more to IS or ISIS that make them front liners in almost all types of news outlets.
ISIS is so fierce and so fearless in combat that some have dubbed the acronym to mean “Islamists Fighters So Incredible”. Despite their relatively small numbers, the Islamic State has been fighting multiple forces at the same time. It has been fighting the Assad forces, the Free Syrian Army, the Al-Nusra Front, the Pushmerga, the Iraqi army and now a coalition of more than thirty countries at the same time. Each of which is an enemy or unloved by someone somewhere, especially the USA.
There is a lot of bull on the net and in the major news networks, perhaps one of the most intriguing is the suggestion that the IDF and the Pentagon have created ISIS and trained its fighters in Jordan to use them to counter the Syrian government. Nothing could be further from the truth; the trained cannot be that much better than the trainee!
Quite to the contrary, there are some unconfirmed reports that American generals and IDF experts are so intrigued and fascinated by the aggressiveness and capabilities of the IS fighters that they are seeking to replicate the phenomenon unto their own soldiers. It is suggested that they are actively seeking to recruit defecting IS fighters as trainers; the problem with that is the fact that really committed Islamic State fighters do not defect.
What doesn’t help in the fight against IS and what makes people around the world fascinated by them is that they are the most committed fighters on the global seen today. With a hundred men, IS fighters have multiply overrun the Iraqi army bases with thousands of soldiers and have done the same against other foes.
As I write this and as the US, France, UAE among others are bombarding IS locations in Syria and Iraq, the IS is attempting to acquire more territory near the Turkish border and reportedly its fighters are just a few kilometers from the capital, Baghdad. Theirs is a commitment and solidity, fearlessness and fierceness of mythical proportions. You simply couldn’t train or impart such qualities in regular soldiers.
What don’t also help are the many contradictions on the world stage today. While the IS beheads mercilessly, those fighting to depose them were just weeks prior burning or assisting in burning of children and women from the sky; remember Gaza! And so as the IS beheads, its enemies are engaging in burning people alive. One does the atrocity with rudimentary weapons, the other does so with high-tech. Families of the dead would tell you however, that by knife or by jets, a family member is no longer.
The fact that the US is leading this coalition does by default create Arabic and Muslims public sympathy for the Islamic State for they see in them someone fighting against a staunch and bloodthirsty enemy. The IS receives sympathy for the same reasons Bin Laden did. Having weakly Arab allies doesn’t serve any purpose as its clear to the masses who is the mastermind of this war.
The others are made to ride the American war train as an attempt to futilely skew public view. Utter stupidity. In fact, instead of making people accept bombardment of Muslims, the Americans will only manage to make their allies in the same hate boat which they have been riding for quite too long now.
As the old Arabic saying goes: “An enemy of my enemy is my friend”. While people might not be supportive of the IS, they see this battle as another chance to bleed the US and her allies and make her pay for atrocities she has committed in the past decades.
The IS’s other incredible ability is their forward-looking strategic planning. The have intelligently placed use in a big dilemma. They managed to force the US to side with those it has openly pronounced as enemies, and as such the US-led coalition will suffer another humiliating defeat. Why? Neither Assad nor other fighting forces in Syria and Iraq that are clear of US’s intentions towards them once IS is defeated would be willing to support the coalition. In fact, many might be in talks to keep their differences aside and deal with the US first. What are left are unorganized, underfunded and ill committed Iraqi army and the Pushmerga forces. None of which has any chance against the Islamic State soldiers. For the very reasons the US doesn’t want to commit its soldiers on Iraqi soil, no one else can withstand.
The IS commits all, the US-led coalition can only commit pilots and ammunition. That too gives the IS the notoriety and sympathy from those hating Western wars which many consider to be crusaders.
An unjust world cannot be made more just by well polished speeches such as of Obama and huge propaganda machines. As long as unjust actions speak louder than words, then Plato’s words reign supreme: Only the dead have seen the end of war.