Defeating Islamic State a challenge

First Posted: 2/7/2015

FEBURARY 6, 2015 — The savage crimes against humanity committed by Islamic State militants now include the reported immolation of a captured Jordanian pilot.

It’s another grim reminder that the world must focus its attention on stopping this horrific group from spreading further terror in the Middle East.

The actions of Islamic State fighters, while happening far from American shores, can’t be shrugged off with the wish that the movement will simply go away or eventually collapse.

These thugs appear to delight in ratcheting up their brutality.

In addition to releasing media-savvy videos that purport to show beheadings and the fiery death of the pilot, the Islamic State has made sex slaves of untold numbers of girls and women, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and killed men, women and children.

There’s no easy solution to reducing the mayhem the Islamic State is causing or the threat it poses to further destabilizing the Middle East.

The bombings against the Islamic State strongholds must continue. The United States properly has committed itself to lead this campaign but does need continued crucial support from Arab states.

President Barack Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress must put aside partisan sniping and continue the controlled use of air strikes against the Islamic State. Rushing to put U.S. soldiers on the ground in the Islamic State strongholds is not a move that deserves strong consideration at this time.

Some members of Congress want to send more military assistance to Jordan, an idea that has some merit. Meanwhile, administration officials are grappling with how deeply America can become involved without overly offending various factions in the tinderboxes of Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The Islamic State leaders appear to know all this and seemingly have tried to gain the upper hand by using social media as propaganda tools intended to bring others into their bloody cause.

Unfortunately, too many unstable young people, including some from European nations, have sought to join the Islamic State to fight a war they cannot win and for a cause that cannot be defended.

The murder of pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, for the moment, seems to have united almost all factions in the Middle East against the Islamic State and its butchery.

Officials from different warring parties in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran lashed out at the Islamic State. The people of Jordan vowed to step up the war against the monstrous movement.

Jordan’sKing Abdullah II blasted the Islamic State, saying “this terrorist organization is not only fighting us, but also fighting Islam and its pure values.”

That could become a rallying cry for more people in Middle Eastern countries to rise up and oppose the Islamic State.

Still, it’s extremely difficult to predict the actions of a foe whose moral compass is completely out of sync with humanity and civil society.

The United States and other champions of humanity must find strategies aimed at reducing and ultimately ending these terrorists’ abilities to take hostages, kill innocent citizens, and displace and brutalize people who want nothing more than to live their lives with their families in peace.

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