Tuesday, February 17, 2015

  • Tuesday, February 17, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Time:
The executioner speaks in English and points his knife toward the Mediterranean. “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission,” he says.

The video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) on Sunday showing the killings of 21 Egyptian Christian workers, appeared to be directed at the Christian world, the continent of Europe and gloried in its brutality.

It was filmed in Libya on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The video made no reference to the other powers in Libya’s civil war, in which both of the country’s rival governments claim to be combating ISIS.

Unlike the statements of other Islamist groups in the region, the video also made no mention of the Egyptian state, which has cracked down on political Islam since the removal of elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Egypt’s government is also participating in the fight against Islamists in Libya.

Instead, the five-minute film is concerned with more international themes. The targets are not modern states, but rather “Rome” and Christians, who are labeled “the people of the cross, the followers of the hostile Egyptian Church.” The message was phrased in religious terms intended to transcend national boundaries. The video ends with the Mediterranean waves dyed red from the blood of the murdered men.

The spectacular appearance of ISIS on the Mediterranean’s southern shores alarmed European governments. Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano called for NATO to intervene in Libya. “ISIS is at the door,” he was quoted as saying. “There is no time to waste.” If the country’s conflict is not resolved soon, U.K. special envoy Jonathan Powell declared, Libya risks becoming “Somalia on the Mediterranean.”
From ANSA:
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni warned Friday that "Italy is under threat from the situation in Libya, 200 nautical miles away". In a television interview, he said it was a grave concern that Islamic State (ISIS) militants may be as closed as Sirte in Libya. Earlier, the Italian government urged citizens to "temporarily leave" Libya as ISIS appeared to be making headway.
This shows that the advice of Graeme Wood in his otherwise excellent article mentioned yesterday, to contain ISIS instead of destroying it, will never work. He writes:
Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited: No one has tried harder to implement strict Sharia by violence. This is what it looks like.
Perhaps IS can be contained in Syria and Iraq, but when territorial contiguity is unnecessary - as its members in Libya and the Sinai show - then it can always give the appearance of growing. And in Islam, appearances are more important than facts. (This is a byproduct of the honor/shame dynamic.) Other hardline Islamist groups will inevitably decide to join IS for practical reasons: it is a name-brand chain of radical Islam, freeing the other groups from worrying about marketing, recruiting and fundraising.


(h/t Yoel)



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