Thursday, March 24, 2016
Tuesday's special lecture with Dr. Boukhars was very appropriately timed. The tactic of those individuals calling themselves "the Islamic State" is to insight fear and confusion. So, the lecture was appropriate in that it brought understanding to yet another senseless act of violence which is very difficult to understand. The term "ISIS" gets thrown around in the American media and most recently, on the Presidential campaign trail, without the appropriate context to aid in understanding. Many candidates propose solutions as they find ISIS to be the most significant threat to our national security. Ironically, many of the solutions proposed seem to be black and white in nature: offering simplistic military solutions to a complicated problem that carries with it equally complex social issues. It would not be hard to imagine that many of the facts surrounding the rise of ISIS are foreign to many American students being that so many media sources do not frame the problem in it's entirety nor offer constructive suggestions to said problems. Perhaps the most troubling fact from an American perspective is that ISIS is not a new problem which has just arisen but rather the resurgence of a problem that existed in 2003 with the beginning of the United State's military involvement in Iraq. While the group was not at that time called "ISIS", their original surfacing was in that time, although many felt as though they were successfully dealt with. However the poor strategy to build Iraqi democracy and the poor strategies of the Bush administration began to pave the road for the rise of ISIS. The region has seen several such governmental attempts at reorganization; all of which have failed. Socialism, capitalism, the Muslim Brotherhood, and more all seemed to fail. This administrative failure is one of there three things that Dr. Boukhars claims ISIS feeds on. The three factors are as follows: 1. Failing State Administrations, 2. Oppressive political policy, and 3. The oppression of Sunnis. While it is that the vast majority of Muslims oppose ISIS (Something like 99%), ISIS continues to see Sunnis as their constituency. This is due to the fact that in the main regions in which ISIS is active (Iraq and Syria), there has been widespread persecution of Sunnis (or this is the perception of many, as Dr. Boukhars said). This dissatisfaction amongst Sunnis has created a perfect storm of political unrest, upon which ISIS lives. It is interesting to note however, that Sunnis actually hold the majority in these regions. The persecution is possible as they are a majority with a minority complex; feeling the full weight of their oppression. Up to this point the strategies to deal with the rise of ISIS have either been primarily militaristic (the Bush administration) or relatively inactive, so as to distance from previous administrations (the Obama administration), according to Dr. Boukhars. The West's failure to come to the aid of Sunnis being persecuted is an idea that those in ISIS use to their advantage to create hostility against the West. It is important to note here that these factors are just a few of the factors surrounding the rise of ISIS and their actions around the world. This is an extremely complicated issue that has very little to do with Islam whatsoever, contrary to what Donald Trump would have his constituents believe. It is a sobering thought when one realizes that the tactics of Donald Trump such as division and alienation, create there perfect conditions for ISIS. Awareness of what are really the underlying issues nee to be brought to the attention of the American public along with the recognition that to support a man like Trump, is counter to the progression of a nation and a more civil planet.