On May 16th, a senior member of ISIS was killed in Eastern Syria. The senior member is Abu Sayyf – whose main role in the group was in dealing with oil. Oil and gas also happen to be ISIS’s main source of revenue. This was a major achievement for the United States that led the mission into Syria. The operation of sending American troops onto the ground in Syria was not coordinated with the Syrian government according to American officials. They claim that the Assad government cannot be trusted since they have aided many extremists.
Over the past few months, ISIS has gained substantial control over territories in Iraq and Syria. Much of the territory ISIS controls has been strategic, such as their control over oil refineries. As of today, May 17, 2015, ISIS militants have been driven out of the city of Palmyra, however the battle for the city led to 295 deaths. As of now, in the city Ramadi, Iraq there have been 500 deaths due to fighting in an attempt to take back the city. Since Friday, 8,000 people have been displaced.
So far, the situation is extremely depressing and hopeless. ISIS has brought hatred, death, and destruction everywhere it goes and the problem will not end with the re-taking of cities. The problem is much greater than that. This fight has led to mass displacement, the bombing of residential areas and increased the stress on Western nations to intervene. This intervention not only brings more destruction by way of air strikes, it has also questioned the legitimacy and sovereignty of Syria and Iraq. The governments of Syria and Iraq have failed to effectively protect their citizens and the result is a Western Responsibility to Protect.
ISIS is a collapsed star, falling in on itself. ISIS is a black hole, pulling everything in and crushing it until it no longer exists as it once was. By its rampant destruction of historical heritage sites and the very root of civilization, ISIS is cutting itself off from a functioning society; quite literally, ISIS puts the “hate” in “Caliphate”. How do you come to a solution to such a violent, relentless and senseless conflict?
We can start at home. A large part of ISIS recruitment focuses on youth. We must educate people on the reality that they face in joining such an organization. We must Fight back against their online presence and rhetoric and give youth the emotional and psychological support they require. Successful societies are not built on separation but on integration, living with a collective will for peace, prosperity and harmony. The world can collectively stand united for our common yearning for peace. While ISIS may break down the foundations of such a society, the rest of us can work to build something stronger and far more beautiful.