By Moudar Jano
IRAQ- the four letter word Americans hoped would finally leave their vernacular upon the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011. A sigh of relief was expressed, as well when U.S. navy seals finally caught, and killed, the infamous terrorist Osama Bin laden in 2012. After all, he was responsible for orchestrating the terrorist attacks on September 2001, the reason why we went to war in the first place, so we were told. Fast forward to 2014, the date US forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan. For a moment it seemed as if we were finished, we could finally pack up and go home, or so we thought. Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden, Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, Taliban, Afghanistan, Saddam, “Axis of Evil”, are all words that have been imprinted in our minds and memories in the past 10 plus years. Our lengthy involvement thousands of miles across the world, in places we Americans know very little about, cost us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. That isn’t even mentioning how many hundreds of thousands of lives, if not over million at this point, all together, have been lost on the “other side.” We finally thought, for a moment, that our troubles were over. Was it? Is it? Have things gotten better? Have freedom and democracy, what we claimed to be fighting for, finally been delivered to the people of Iraq? Well, no. Iraq is back in our headlines. There is a new kid on the block. The big bad monster hiding in our closet, Al-Qaeda, has been swept aside by an even worse terrorist organization, too much for even Al-Qaeda to handle. It’s another four-letter name that has dominated the headlines, ISIS, or ISIL.
Recently however, the news has been reporting them as “IS.” The name doesn’t matter; I think you get the point. IS, is short for “Islamic State,” and has been wreaking havoc across Iraq and Syria. So far, they have been able to occupy large swathes of land across northern Iraq and Syria, erasing the border from the two neighboring countries. They have heavily destabilized the region, causing the two countries, namely Iraq, to spiral into chaos. The Iraqi forces are struggling to fight this group. Many tribes, factions, and other “terrorist” organizations have taken up arms to fight this new threat. However, at the same time, many of these groups, with conflicting interests, are also fighting each other. It’s a mess, a colossal mess. The group shows no mercy to those who do not agree with their methods and ideology. Mass killings, executions, targeting of religious minorities, other Muslims, you name it, are all the norm for this group.
So the question remains, which part of hell did these demons come from? I won’t bore you with all the details. IS has been alive during the past two decades, with different names throughout. And, of course, they were active in Iraq during the 2003 US led invasion of Iraq. The war in Iraq alone has cost up to 2 trillion dollars, and still counting. Recently, the US has been conducting airstrikes in Iraq against IS, costing 7.5 million dollars a day.
What do we do then? Is it our fault? Do we have to clean this mess up? Should we invade? Should we conduct air strikes? Could this spiral into a major worldwide conflict? These are all multi trillion dollar questions, literally. These are all important questions we need to consider, and try to look ahead into the future before acting haphazardly without thinking about the consequences. This affects all of us. It’s important that we all read up on this and pay attention to the news, daily. So before you sit down and watch the latest episode of the Kardashians, MTV, or Espn, take some time out of your day to read about what is going on around you, before it catches up to you.