By Emma Buchman
The threat of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, becomes more prevalent each day. With so many complications in the Middle East and the threat of a great loss of civilian life always looming, there comes a necessary and frightening question: what is the world going to do about it?
Since the middle of August, ISIS has beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and more recently Scottish aid worker David Haines. The group posted the beheadings on a social media site for the world to see, depriving the families the deceased of a particular intimacy that they will never regain. It has killed thousands of civilians and condemned by nations and are condemned other terrorist groups as being unnecessarily brutal.
I’m no war-monger, and the United States has enough problems in the Middle East than it can handle right now. It is neither our right nor our prerogative to make hasty decisions in regards to IS. We gave that right up in 2003 when we invaded Iraq. However, we do have the right to protect our people. We also have the right to have friends, like the French.
A conference was held in Paris on Sept. 15 to discuss how to confront IS, the two main parties of the conference being France and Iraq. At the conference, French President Francois Hollande made a bold and intelligent statement when he said, “Every country is involved, and we have to do everything to stop the indoctrination of our young, break the jihadi networks, and remove the group’s funding.” Nations in attendence included the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Having the involvement of these Middle Eastern countries is crucial to the success of this plan. With their help, is possible to form an alliance against IS. Though Iraqi President Fouad Massoum has not completely condoned the participation of countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, he certainly acknowledges the necessity of their presence: “What is important is that they participate in the decisions of this conference.”
These countries also strengthen America’s alliance, and their participation gives a necessary variety to the force against IS. Their involvement shows that this is not a Western team versus the Middle East; but rather an inter-continental front that is defending its citizens and its allies.
For once it appears that we are actually working together in the 21st century (knock on wood). One of the US’s greatest problems is working unilaterally and giving no regard to how it would affect the rest of the world. Now we are using our greatest alliances and working together as a team. As long as we are willing to work as partners with other nations and not acting like the big brother, we could get a lot accomplished; not just with IS but with many other international problems.
That is not to say that we have not made mistakes. My support for the Obama administration has been waning over the past several months. First, the administration did not allow the Foley family to raise funds for the ransom IS gave for his release. The administration even threatened the Foleys with prosecution if they did so. “I think our efforts to get Jim freed were an annoyance,” Foley’s mother Diane said in an interview with Anderson Cooper. The White House made the Foley family feel like they were nuisances just for asking to help free their son, and threatening them with prosecution during an unbearable time is unacceptable. Mrs. Foley summarized the experience and said, “As a family, we had to find our way through this on our own.”
Secondly, the White House gave no comment when IS released a video of the murder of British aid worker David Haines. I believe steam actually came out of my ears. The UK is one of our oldest and strongest allies. They have been supporting us throughout the situation with IS. Prime Minister David Cameron even left his vacation early to help identify Foley’s killer for God’s sake. Then, Britain suffers the loss of Haines just as the US lost Foley and Steven Sotloff, and the White House has no comment?
These are the kinds of insensitive mistakes that the US cannot afford to make. We tend to take our place in this world for granted and don’t realize that we are one slip-up away from overstepping our boundaries. The US needs to be intelligent and willing to play nice with others.
When it’s something that’s impacting all of us, all of us need to stand together.