Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ISIS and Obama's Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

At the Wall Street Journal, "The Copts and Kurds Know the Threat is More Than 'Violent Extremism'":
The White House hosts its Summit on Countering Violent Extremism this week, and Islamic State seems not to understand it wasn’t invited. The event is supposed to showcase President Obama ’s leadership against a threat he refuses to identify by name, but the entire world has been watching Islamist jihadists advertise the specific threat across a brutal weekend.

In Iraq Islamic State paraded in cages through the city of Kirkuk 17 captured Kurdish fighters whom it presumably plans to burn alive as it recently did a caged Jordanian fighter pilot. Kirkuk is on the crossroads of Kurdish and Sunni Iraq, and ISIS didn’t hold any of the crucial oil hub when Mr. Obama unveiled his anti-ISIS strategy in September. The Kurds are on the front lines against Islamic State, but the Obama Administration has been wary of sending them significant arms lest it offend the government in Baghdad that can’t or won’t protect the Kurds.

Meanwhile, the rising Libyan branch of Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. The Copts were kidnapped in Libya and killed as “A Message Signed With Blood To the Nation Of the Cross,” according to the video caption.

“Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of Al-Sham and Dabiq’s plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time, and today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message,” declared a masked ISIS member.

These videos are intended to show a religious movement that is on the march, the vanguard of history. This helps win converts and intimidate Muslims who might otherwise resist. The longer Islamic State appears to be advancing despite Mr. Obama’s promise to “degrade and destroy” it, the wider its appeal becomes.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi responded to the murder of the Copts with bombing raids against ISIS bases in Libya, and he urged the U.S. coalition to expand its operations to North Africa. Like the Kurds and King Abdullah in Jordan, Egypt knows the real threat and understands the need to step up the fight against Islamic State...