By Joseph Klein
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ("ISIS," also known variously as "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" or simply the "Islamic State") is metastasizing throughout northern and western Iraq and swaths of Syria. It won't stop there. Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and other parts of the Middle East are within its sights. Ultimately, its pathological leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned, ISIS is after the United States. "Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day," he said last January. More recently, an ISIS spokesperson declared "we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House."
President Obama, after months of dithering, finally authorized air strikes against ISIS, which are helping to slow down their advance against the Kurds in northern Iraq and to provide space for urgent humanitarian relief to besieged minority groups under threat of genocide by ISIS jihadists. However, as welcome as this is, the president still views ISIS as a local Iraqi problem to be dealt with by instituting a more inclusive centralized government in Baghdad rather than seeing ISIS as part of a much larger global ideological threat. [more...]