ISIS leader once held by Coalition — Now Obama reacts to ISIS

Thanks to War News Updates for this graphic.

The leader of the Islamic state in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is a man cloaked in mystery.  Going by the nom de guerre al-Baghdadi, he commands a jihadist army of 10,000.  According to the BBC News Middle East and the Christian Broadcasting Network, al-Baghdadi was released from coalition prision Camp Bucca with the parting words to American troops, “I’ll see you guys in New York.”

The BBC additionally suggests that al-Baghdadi may have been an Islamic cleric at a Baghdad mosque during the American invasion of Iraq.  Possibly born in Samarra (north of Baghdad), some suggest that he was a jihadist during the rule of Hussein while others say that he became radicalized during his interment at Camp Bucca,

ISIS Drives to Exterminate Minorities

For weeks, members of Congress called on Obama to take action. On 22 July, Representative Frank Wolf called on Obama to take action to stop the genocide of Christians and other minorities.  According to Catholic Online, ISIS has required Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed.  Even when Christian women convert, they are forced to marry ISIS jihadists.  Many Christians are being beheaded, bled to death, and crucified.

According to CNN and the Guardian, tens of thousands of Christians have had to flee Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city, and Mosul.  Many have been captured and murdered by the followers of Islam.  Many have died during the trek to safety.

The following video documents the dark acts in Iraq during the last week of July 2014.

Obama’s Actions

As of Friday (8 August 2014), Obama authorized daytime strikes on ISIS convoys, mortar positions, and a few other targets.  So what effect are these actions likely to have?  According to Byron York in Obama’s narrow, specific, extremely limited action in Iraq, the affect would be minimal.

On the first goal, Obama explained that ISIS fighters have recently “neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.” Obama said he has directed the Pentagon to hit ISIS convoys moving toward Erbil and to “take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq” — which means either in Erbil or in Baghdad, where the U.S. has placed teams of advisors. Beyond that, Obama pledged to help the Kurds fight against ISIS, but without the participation of U.S. forces.

After the president’s speech, a senior administration official reiterated the tight limits on the first directive. “This is focused on the protection of our personnel and facilities,” the official said. “Given the strategic nature of Erbil and Baghdad, clearly we would be concerned about and prepared to take action if we saw ISIL advances that put our facilities at risk.”

So that is it: Obama’s directive is not to destroy, or even weaken, ISIS. It is not to turn the tide in Iraq. It is not to protect Christians or other persecuted minorities. It is, quite narrowly, to protect American forces and facilities in two key areas.

According to Robert Burns and Lara Jakes of the AP, Obama’s Iraq aim is to contain, not destroy, extremists. How well has any war worked out when the object was containment (or any thing but brutal victory)?

Bible Input

Against ISIS

Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. (Exodus 22:22-23)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14 NIV)

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Galations 1:8-9 NIV)

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted … such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15 NIV)

Against Weak Leaders

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:6-8 NIV)

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