Combatting Violent Extemism

The fight against violent extremism is being fought by a shift in global consciousness resulting in a collective effort by governments, NGOs and stakeholders, including individuals at the local level. Radicalized extremism, which has nothing to do with religion, is an ideology founded on inducing fear of imagined or future danger. It is a feeling, not an action.  Simply stated, extremism is psychological warfare.

The effectiveness of any extremist act is not the act itself, but the extent of the fear evoked in the general public.  The public’s apperception of fear is a miscalculation as the attack has already occurred and the likelihood of being personally involved in a future attack is less than negligible. In turn, we subconsciously transfer our fear to the Muslim population giving rise to widespread bigotry and hatred.  We have permitted the real battleground to be a mental schema that we have been conditioned to experience for more than fifteen years.

What are we so afraid of? 

The U.S. Department of State defines extremism as “…premeditated politically-motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

Violent attacks are staged by radicalized extremists to maximize publicity.  For instance, attacks are often scheduled for Friday mornings triggering a seemingly nonstop barrage of sensationalized weekend media reports.

Targets are chosen to not only symbolize what extremists oppose but, also those which will generate the most media coverage and public sympathy. Sympathy was the motive behind November 13, 2015 Paris attack on a nightclub frequented by young people and at an international sporting event, and the June 12, 2015 attack on a gay bar was in Orlando, America’s favorite family destination.  Recent examples of acts based on opposition were the March 22, 2016 Brussels attacks, which came days after the Belgium arrest of the last known suspect in the Paris attack, and the January 7, 2015 Paris Charlie Hebdo attack in objection to its re-publication of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Muhammad.

Other more random attacks are undertaken by individuals with no identifiable nexus to extremist leaders even though the attackers claim allegiance to the ideology, as was the case in the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino shooting.

Regardless of the motive, the result is an “An anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets”; the United Nations’ 1992 definition.

The target is you, the general public.

By the Numbers

The chance of a Westerner being killed by a violent extremist act is exceedingly low: about a one in three million each year.

Between 9.11 and 2013, foreign-inspired violent acts of extremism only claimed two dozen lives in the United States. Globally, the U.S. Department of State reported that, in 2011, only 17 U.S. civilians were killed worldwide by extremists, including deaths in all theaters of war.

The 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center stated that Americans are as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by an extremist.   As one Washington Post headline read, “You’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist”.

Abandoning the Schema

In a recent statement, President Barack Obama stated:

“Groups like ISIL and al-Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.

But we are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mind-set and this kind of thinking can be. We are starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we are fighting, where this can lead us. This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that.

And if we ever abandon those values, we wouldn’t only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect, the pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make this country great, the very things that make us exceptional.

And then the terrorists would have won. And we cannot let that happen.”

How, Why and Where Radicalization Transpires

According to John Horgan, PhD, Director the Pennsylvania State University’s International Center for the Study of Terrorism, people who are predisposed to extremist recruitment and radicalization tend to:

  • Feel angry, alienated or disenfranchised;
  • Believe that their current political involvement does not give them the power to effect real change;
  • Identify with perceived victims of the social injustice they are fighting;
  • Feel the need to take action rather than just talking about the problem;
  • Believe that engaging in violence against the state is not immoral;
  • Have friends or family sympathetic to the cause; and
  • Believe that joining a movement offers social and psychological rewards such as adventure, camaraderie and a heightened sense of identity.

Mosques Are Not Enclaves for Terrorist

Loners by nature, “More than 80 per cent who join the Islamic State do so through peer-to-peer relationships, mostly with friends and sometimes family. Very few join in mosques or through recruitment by anonymous strangers… radicalization rarely occurs in mosques,” stated Scott Atran, co-founder of the Center for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford University.

Charles Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, co-author of a 2010 report “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans”, also found that, “Very few of these [extremist] individuals are regular participants at American mosques. In fact, in a number of cases they have expressed hostility toward their local religious leaders. Unfortunately, it seems to be a pattern that these individuals engaged in violent extremism move away from the mosque as they become radicalized and are interacting less with the religious leaders who preach peace.”

The Islamic Community

The American-Muslim community has publicly and privately denounced terrorism and violence, is willing to report radical individuals to law enforcement, and encourages community building and political engagement.

A 2010 study conducted by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill determined that these programs are an effective deterrent to radicalization.  That study also found that “48 of the 120 Muslims suspected of plotting domestic terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, were turned in by fellow Muslims, including parents, mosque members and even a Facebook friend.”

Mosques around the world have created programs to engage vulnerable youth to prevent radicalization by the rampant extremist propaganda, easily accessed on social media.  Countering radicalization has been a topic in sermons and at national conferences.

When ISIS emerged, the world’s most prominent Muslim leaders and scholars published an open leader to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi renouncing the militant group’s religious claims, including that of the Caliphate.

Yet, despite its best efforts, the Muslim community is so stigmatized that after the Paris attack the hashtag #NotInMyName emerged on social media.

The Media’s Role

First and foremost, the media’s disproportionate focus on Western acts of terror reinforces such mistaken perceptions. “Extremely vivid image[s] of death and damage” resulting from terrorist attacks are “reinforced by media attention and frequent conversation,” leaving us with highly accessible memories of such events, stated Daniel Kahneman, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

For instance, CNN International, six days after the Orlando shooting, was still displaying headline “Terror in Orlando”, fostering the apperception that there exists cause for fear of another and imminent attack.

“When people who have been exposed to such coverage later assess how likely more terrorism is, such events come readily to mind — and so they are likely to assign probabilities biased upward,” stated former Pentagon official Andrew Shaver.

Second, by engaging in nonstop and repetitive reporting the media is acting as ade facto public relations department for extremist organizations.  Media must shift its focus from repeatedly showing videos of attacks to the courage and solidarity exhibited by first responders, the community, surviving family and friends, and committed law enforcement officials.

Consider that just one additional New York Times article about an attack in any country increased the probability of ensuing attacks in that country by between 11% and 15%. On average, that additional NYT article results in between one and two casualties from another attack within the next week.

Fourth, the question is always posed of a government official or expert, “What could the government have done to prevent this attack?”  After a brief pause, the interviewee utters something vague.

Take for example the attack on the Brussels airport.  Over and over again, reporters asked officials what they could have been done to prevent the attack.  One “expert’ opined that security should have been moved outside of the building.  The reality is that all this would have accomplished is moving the queue to another location.  The correct answer is there was probably nothing that could have been done to prevent that attack.

With an increasing number of “homegrown” extremists, there is even less intelligence available to thwart attacks.

Yet, for days after an attack line of questioning continues when the focus in the aftermath ought to be on the inherent strength and resiliency of Western communities and the good work done by law enforcement officials.

Fifth, the word choices made by the news and entertainment industries are often inflammatory.  For instance, the term “suicide bomber” is almost always used as opposed to the more accurate term “homicidal extremist”.  Continuous headlines such as “Terror in Orlando”, rather than “Solidarity in the Midst of Tragedy” or “Law Enforcement Responded With Flying Colors”, not only sends the wrong message to the public but furthers extremist objectives.

Sixth, oftentimes, the reporting is inaccurate.  For instance, after the November 2015 Paris attack, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer reported that the “Caliphate” was responsible.  ISIS’ claim that its leader is the Caliphate, or a prophet sent by God to provide just governance for all of Islam, could not be farther from the truth.  But, given Mr. Blitzer’s credibility, the public readily believe what he says.

To successful combat violent extremism responsible journalism is essential.

Donald Trump is Even More Culpable

As the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ought to be upholding the principles so carefully articulated by the United States’ founding fathers in the Constitution.  Rather, he actively promotes hatred and bigotry giving rise to violent and large protests at his public appearances.

Oddly, political commentators seem to have no knowledge of the Fighting Words Doctrine, which the United States Supreme Court in 1942 held to be a limitation that freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.  In a unanimous decision, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the High Court held that “insulting or ‘fighting words,’ are those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace”.  Can there be any doubt that Mr. Trump’s remarks rise to the level of fighting words?

On Monday, June 13, 2016, Mr. Trump added to the plethora of anti-Muslims statements when he promised that, if elected, he would “suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats.” Perhaps Mr. Trump should learn about the International Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and the Convention and Protocol Related to the Status of Refugees, which grants individuals the right, under international law, to seek political asylum.

Mr. Trump further stated that, if president, he would insure that mosques were monitored.  Apparently, he has not read the research.  In the wake of 9/11, after more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.

As President Obama stated, “We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from immigrating into America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complacent in violence.”

Combatting Violent Extremism

“Violent extremists are not a new threat; they have raged against civilization as long as we have tried to build it. What is new is how the United States and our partners around the world are pushing them back – with a more comprehensive, preventive, and civilian-centered approach we call Countering Violent Extremism, or CVE,” stated Sewall, Sarah, Unite States Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.

As explained by The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague, “CVE programmes include an astonishing range of activities, from messaging to community outreach, to religious argumentation, to economic development. Programmes proposed under the rubric of CVE can range from individual interventions to efforts to rewrite the script for entire societies, from the economy to social mores.”

Richard Stengel, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, stated that efforts against extremism should focus “not only countering their message, but creating a positive alternative for people who may be attracted to their message”.

Thus, CVE has two overlapping goals:

  • Disengagement to dissuade individuals from violent participation in and material support for violent extremist organisations and movements.
  • De-radicalization/counter-radicalization to dissuade individuals from adopting extremist ideologies.

The global movement behind these goals includes the RESOLVE network brought about in February 2014 at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, which launched a comprehensive CVE effort that now encompasses over 100 countries, 20 multilateral bodies, and 400 civil society organizations.

As a result, foreign governments are developing CVE strategies providing meaningful roles for those outside government.

According to Ms. Sewall, “Many of those actors – like young people, mayors, and women – have launched their own global networks to learn from each other’s experience countering violent extremism in their communities.”

What Can You Do?

Get involved at the local level with CVE initiatives. A list of resources can be accessed at

Write to the media to express your concerns, refuse to watch inflammatory programming, have the self-control to know when “enough is enough” and the wisdom to understand that what is real and what is fiction.

For those of us in the European Union and the United States, we must exercise our right to vote for politicians who respect national and international law, and who promote harmonious and peaceful relationships among diverse populations and governments.

Write or petition school and government officials to offer compulsory education. “Without anti-racism education, war will continue to prevail and peace will continue to be what it is; a falsehood that distracts the world populace from the reality on the ground… Otherwise, we will continue to have the rise of terrorist states,” stated Ahmad Moussa, a Palestinian-Canadian professor and author.

Participate in global interfaith activities to learn more about not just the Islamic faith but, other faiths that differ from your own.  Most people are unaware that the three major world religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam all share a common belief in Jesus.

We can open our minds and hearts to the moderate Muslim populations in our communities.  For instance, many mosques and Islamic community centers host programs that are open to the general public.  Attending events will reduce conditioned fear.

We should also be diligent in reporting activity that we feel is suspicious.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The bottom line is that we can all participate in the war on extremism.

“The only way to change the world is to change the story,” stated Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Sufi teacher and scholar.

About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner is a journalist focusing on geopolitics.  Ms. Lardner is a contributing editor for Tuck Magazine and E – The Magazine for Today’s Executive Female Executive, and her blogs are read in over 37 countries.  As a thought leader in the area of foreign policy, her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking. Ms. Lardner holds degrees in journalism, law, and counseling psychology.


Berger, J.M. “Making CVE Work: A Focused Approach Based on Process Disruption”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague 7, no. 5 (2016), as found on the www at

Boehlert, Eric, “Pushing For Mosque Surveillance, Fox News Is Fighting The Last War”, June 16, 2016, Media Matters for America, as found on the www at

Doward, Jamie, “Media coverage of terrorism ‘leads to further violence’”, August 1, 2015, The Guardian, as found on the www at

Horgan, John. “Walking Away from Terrorism” (Routledge, 2009).

“How the U.S. is countering the Islamic extremist propaganda machine”, June 16, 2016, PBS Newshour, as found on the www at

Moussa, A., The Islamic State and the Jewish State, October 17, 2014, Counterpunch, as found on the www at

Sewall, Sarah, “Countering Violent Extremism: How Human Rights and Good Governance Help Prevent Terrorism”, February 29, 2016, United States Department of State, as found on the www at

Shaver, Andrew, “You’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist”, November 23, 2015, Washington Post, as found on the www at


“Yesterday’s News: The Right, Wrong and Thinly Veiled “


Friday the 13th’s massacre attacks in Paris by radicalized terrorists calling themselves ISIL on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a stadium in which 129 people died and more than 350 others were injured, has resulted in international outrage precipitating widespread media coverage.


French President Francois Hollande, in his speech to joint session of both houses of Parliament, stated that France is “at war” with Syria. While an interim 10 ten day ‘state of emergency” had already been called, Mr. Hollande asked for an immediate bill to be passed placing France under a three month “state of emergency”[i]. This would effectively reduce constitutional rights while increasing the French military and police officers’ ability to conduct a thorough investigation.

Over the weekend, with the assistance of U.S. intelligence, France engaged in airstrikes in Syria.  Ten fighter jets targeted sites, including a command centre, a recruitment centre for jihadists, a munitions depot and a training camp, in the terrorist’s stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, successfully dropping 20 guided bombs.

Mr. Hollande stated that France’s military campaign against the terrorists in Iraq and Syria will only intensify.

Mr. Hollande stated that France’s European allies were obligated to assist in protecting its citizens.  During the same address, he referred to United States having already stepped up to do so.

In essence, Mr. Hollande invoked Article Five of the Washington Treaty governing NATO members.  Article Five requires NATO member nations to defend other members when faced with a threat.  Article Five is a commitment clause or casus foederis requiring each member state to consider an armed attack against one member state to be an armed attack against them all.  Article Five states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

 Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security [ii].

Invoking Article FIve will hasten the sharing of intelligence, heighten European action against arms trafficking, and improve concerted attacks against radicalized terrorists on domestic soil and abroad.

Photo Courtesy of ABC News

 As for the type of military invention, President Barack Obama addressing the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, firmly stated that, “This is not a traditional military opponent. We can retake territory and as long as we keep our troops there we can hold it. But that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these kinds of violent, extremist groups[iii].”

“There’s also the role of surveillance, domestic and foreign, and getting private companies, like Apple, to allow the U.S. government access” by the National Security Administration (NSA)[iv].   NSA surveillance, the most elite and comprehensive program of its kind, will be augmented by programs already in place in allied countries, such as Britain’s M-15, which handles domestic surveillance, and M16, responsible for global surveillance.


Mr. Hollande, during yesterday’s speech, and Mr. Obama, at the G20, both reiterated that the Syrian refugees are just as much victims of terrorism as were the 129 brutally slaughtered in the Paris attacks this past Friday.

To exclude the right of refugees to seek political asylum in the European Union and the U.S. would be a crime against humanity[v].

Despite an outcry over accepting refugees by several U.S. States, Mr. Obama “urged the U.S. to “step up and do its part” to help those fleeing the civil war[vi]”.

“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values… Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both,” Mr. Obama stated at the G20 Summit[vii].

Presidents Obama and Hollande both stated that there will be a better system of registration for Syrian’s seeking refuge.

If the incident resulted in backlash against the refugees, it would be consistent with the terrorist’s radicalized view that those fleeing from Syria are also its enemies deserving to be punished.  Closing the door only furthers the terrorist’s agenda.

The other consideration is that ISIS recruits globally from outside of those sharing its ideology, preying upon those individuals who are disenfranchised and malcontent. Denying a safe haven to refugees only increases the pool of individuals from which ISIS can recruit[viii].


The radicalized terrorists also recruit from among those who lured by what is no less that its blasphemous use of the term “Caliphate”.  A Caliphate is a prophet sent by God, not only to lead all of Islam but to provide just governance[ix].  Abu Bakr, leader of the radicalized terrorists declared himself the rightful Caliphate on June 29, 2014[x].

The continued use of these names by the governments and mass media only allows the terrorists to use mass media to its advantage[xi].

During his speech, Mr. Obama was definitive in stating that ISIS isn’t a “state”. But, when we refer to it as ISIS, or as IS or ISIL, we inadvertently condemn the innocent Islamic population and perpetuate deep-seated mistrust and rampant discrimination against them.  In the few days since Friday’s attacks, peaceful Muslim people have already adopted the slogan “not in my name”[xii].

This writer suggests that it would serve humanity’s best interest in the fight against terrorism to call the group what it really is: “the radicalized terrorist group”.  It would vitiate the blasphemous use of the words Caliphate, Muslim and Islam.


About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner holds a journalism degree, she is an attorney, and has trained as a clinical (school and agency) therapist. As a thought leader, her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking understanding that everything and everyone is subject to change given the right circumstances; Standard Theory or Theory of Everything.

Having just relocated to Den Hague or The Hague, she is currently looking for a challenging position that will fully utilize her collective skill set.



[i] “Paris attacks: ‘France will destroy IS’ – Hollande”, November 17, 2015, as found on the www at

[ii] North Atlantic Treaty (Washington Treaty), April 4, 1949, NATO, as found on the www at

[iii] “Obama defends US military strategy against Islamic State” November 17, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[iv] Montenero, Domenica, “The Real Debate: 2 Very Different World Views On Terrorism”, November 17, 2015, as found on the www at

[v] Lardner, Cynthia, “Closing Borders:  A Crime Against Humanity, November 2, 2015, as found on the www at;;;

[vi] “Sweeping Reactions From Politicians Over Syrian Refugees In U.S.”, November 17, 2015,?NPR News, as found on the www at

[vii] Montenero, Domenica, Infra Endnote iv; “Paris attacks: US states halt taking Syrian refugees”, November 17, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[viii] Lardner, Cynthia, “Corporatized Terrorism”, (“ISIS Gone Corporate”), Game of Thrones, January 17, 2014, as found on the www at;;  and

(“ISIS campaigns—involving towed field guns, self-propelled armor and first-class tanks—do not come cheap. ISIS columns advance using satellites and thermal cameras, driven by skilled professionals who are paid serious wages, estimated at well north of $1,000 a month[40].”

The CIA states ISIS has recruited than 30,000 fighters.  As of July  “…more than 12,000 foreign fighters had traveled to Syria to fight with extremist groups, many of them now counted among ISIS’s ranks, including more than 1,000 westerners, around 100 of them American. Later estimates put the number of foreign fighters in Syria at approximately 15,000,” stated Matthew Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center[41].

ISIS’ human resources campaign preys on the needs of others based on two separate, yet related, principles.  First, by declaring himself Calphifate, Abu Bakr has preyed upon the general Islamic community’s devotion to its historical teachings.  Second, ISIS has used the international community’s failure to insure that basic needs are fairly and equally met, such as protecting against civil rights violations or providing clean water for the one billion people who go without, to generate followers from amongst the disenfranchised[43].

ISIS is “…leveraging social media and other media channels in pushing its propaganda by projecting a picture of normal civil life[45].  ISIS’ state of the art computer network recruits via social media, sending tens of thousands of tweets each day[xv]” (Citations Omitted)).

[ix] Lardner, Cynthia, “Corporatized Terrorism”, Infra Endnote 8

(“The Prophet Muhammad “…institutionalized the “doctrine of “One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque [16]”, giving rise to the title of “Caliphate”.  A Caliphate is a prophet sent by God to lead of all of Islam under a just system of governance.

“The last caliphate – that of the Ottomans – was officially abolished 90 years ago…Yet in a 2006 Gallup survey of Muslims living in Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia and Pakistan, two-thirds of respondents said they supported the goal of “unifying all Islamic countries” into a new caliphate[17][vi].” (Citations omitted)).

[x] Id. (“[T]he Middle East is being reformatted…That is why their interest in reformatting of the space and formation of obedient regimes goes under the slogan “caliphate”, stated Polosin [21].

ISIS size and structure render it positioned to withstand, if not ignore, regional challenges by other groups and governments who have questioned Abu Bakr’s proclamation [vii]…

ISIS and Abu Bakr’s use of the Caliphate title has created the false perception that it will provide the infrastructure lacking in underdeveloped countries, and the just governance, honoring human rights, many countries have failed to provide.  The promise has attracted disenfranchised and unempowered Muslims and non-Muslims from around the world who have placed their need for fair and responsive governance above any ideological conflict.” (Citations Omitted)).

[xi] Id. Endnote x (“Terrorist messages have backdrops designed to create the impression that they are disorganized or even lacking in resources. Nothing could be farther from the truth.  ISIS Media Division rivals the best of public relations firms.  In an interesting counter-maneuver, this past week a statement by ‘activists and fighters’ was released stating that ISIS’ cohesion has been weakened by “flagging morale, desertion and factionalism’.  Consistent with M-Model corporate strategy, the same statement went on to state “focus shifts to governing the area.”  Solomon, E, “Isis morale falls as momentum slows and casualties mount,” December 20, 2014, Financial Times, as found on the www at”)

[xii] “Paris Muslims fear attacks backlash” November 17, 2015, Reuters TV, as found on the www at

The Case for a Syrian Coalition Government



Syria belongs to the Syrian people.  That is the most basic of truths.  Syria must be returned to its people.

Historically, Syria goes back to the ‘era of the Levant’ and, in fact, Syria translates to Levant[i].  Levant is significant to the ideology and public relations campaign undertake by the IS, also referred to as ISIS and ISIL. So significant is Syria to IS, especially its oil rich fields, that IS established a second capital in the once modern Syrian city of Raqqa.

Syria’s capital of Damascus, an area yet to be devastated by IS, is one of mankind’s longest continuously inhabited cities. Damascus was also the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and of an Egyptian sultanate.  The concept of the Caliphate is central to IS’ current recruitment strategies.

Modern day Syria emerged after World War I.  Under its October 24, 1945 Constitution, it was formed as a democratized parliamentary republic, with a full range of constitutional protections, and it was accepted as a United Nations member nation.

Following several military coups, under a December 1, 1961 constitutional referendum, Syria formally became the Arab Republic of Syria.

In 1963, the Ba’ath Party staged a coup d’etat, placing it into power, a position it has held ever since.  From 1963 through 2011, Syria suspended the constitutional protections granted its citizens.  Since 1963, it has not been considered a democratized nation.

From 1973 to 2000, as a Ba’ath party member, Hafez al-Assad was President.  He was succeeded by his son, Bashar al-Assad, also a Ba’ath party member, who remains Syria’s current President al-Assad was re-elected in a June 2014 referendum election under circumspect polling conditions[ii].

The Onset of Civil War

Protests in Syria started on January 26, 2011. Protesters called for political reforms and the re-instatement of their civil rights, as well as an end to the state of emergency, suspending their constitutional rights, which had been in place since 1963.  Civil war broke out on March 25, 2011[iii].

After the inception of Syria’s civil war, the United States, the European Union, Canada and the majority of the Arab League[iv] all called for President al-Assad to resign his presidency[v].  Widespread economic sanctions and travel restrictions were rapidly imposed by the West.

As of late 2013, the best known of the over 100 factions operating in Syria were:

Amid mounting humanitarian crises [the best known being the refugee crises in the European Union [vi]], on-going terrorist attacks in Syria are minimally attributable to at least five groups:

  • ISIS;
  • Non-Sunni Muslim extremists;
  • The al-Nursa Front led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, involved in the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack and Osama bin Laden’ successor. It has been reported that al-Zawahiri and Bakr are at odds with one another;
  • Sunni Muslims, constituting the majority of the its population, who oppose existing the government; and
  • The Syrian government.

 All are involved at some level with the ISIS, which is and has been playing a leading role in Syria (Emphasis added) [vii].

The damage and methods by which it was so brutally inflicted was recently summarized as follows:


Estimates range from 100,000 to 150,000 killed (as of March 2014)

9 Million displaced

Human rights abuses that have been confirmed include but are not limited to:

Chemical Weapons attacks on civilian areas

Barrel bombing civilian areas

Widespread use of rape as a weapon of war

Summary executions of prisoners, including children

Mutilation and display of corpses, including crucifixion

Torture, including of children [viii]

As one commentator wrote this week:

By releasing dozens of al-Qaeda prisoners in mid-2011, Assad helped give birth to a thriving Islamist insurgency, including an al-Qaeda affiliate. By then adopting a deliberate policy of not targeting IS, Assad directly facilitated that group’s recovery and explosion into the transnational “Caliphate” movement it claims to be today.

Meanwhile, the Assad regime has conducted a consistent policy of intentional mass killing of civilians – first with air strikes and ballistic missiles, then with barrel bombs and widely alleged use of chemical weapons.

Bashar al-Assad has professionalised and industrialised the use of detention and torture to “cleanse” his own population, while imposing dozens of medieval-style sieges on vulnerable populations. He has consistently flouted UN Security Council resolutions and according to some sources, has been responsible for 95% of all 111,000 civilian deaths since 2011 [ix].

President al-Assad has been cited by the United Nations as having committed war crimes but the International Criminal Court has yet to take jurisdiction[x].  “Asked if he believed Mr Assad should face prosecution at the International Criminal Court, Mr Cameron said: “People who break international law should be subject to international law[xi].””

The Scattered Pieces of the Syrian Front

Over the last few months, President al-Assad’s position in Syria has become increasingly detrimentally impacted.  First, it was released that President al-Assad had lost control over the government’s last oil field[xii].

Second, amidst a mounting refugee crisis in the European Union and beyond, it was released that the Syrian government was facilitating the issuance of passports for citizens both in and outside of Syria[xiii].   Historically, passports were all but impossible to obtain.  It’s as if Syria government has no interest in seeing its people return home[xiv].  This is form of Scientific Racism known as ethnic cleansing.  Like genocide, ethnic cleansing is a war crime.  Like the Palestinian people, the Syrian people want the right to return to their homelands as it existed prior to conflict erupting.

Third, and most significantly, is Russia’s military build-up in Syria[xv].  Russia, whose economy was decimated in 2014 as a result of economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States[xvi], was left with two primary assets[xvii]. Military support, including the sale of weapons and the training of troops, and energy, both its natural resources and its willingness to build nuclear power plants.  In the sale of armaments, Russia is second only to the United States.  Russia has long been known as the primary purveyor of weapons to ISIS, also referred to as IS and ISIL.

What was concerning was a BBC News commentator who, in early September announced that given Russia’s relationship with President al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin could be a reliable bridge to the Syrian peace process whereas every other news report reflected growing international concern about Russia’s increasing military presence in Syria[xviii].

As early as September 5, 2015, “US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern to his Russian counterpart over reports of “an imminent enhanced Russian military build-up” in Syria[xix].” The day prior The New York Times reported “that US officials believed Russia had sent a military advance team to Syria[xx].”  Another report stated that Russian troops were actively engaging in combat alongside President Assad’s troops[xxi].

What we know for sure is that:

In the space of three weeks, Moscow has deployed at least 28 fighter jets, 14 helicopters, dozens of tanks, anti-aircraft missile systems and 2,000 troops into north-western Syria.

Russia’s claim that its forces are there only to target Islamic State should be taken with a large grain of salt [xxii].

“President Vladimir Putin has been coy on the subject, saying Russia is weighing various options, a statement that has fueled suspicions about the Kremlin’s intentions[xxiii].

That same news report opined as to President Putin’s intentions:

By playing with the possibility of joining the anti-IS coalition, Putin may hope to win a few key concessions. His main goal: the lifting of Western sanctions and the normalization of relations with the United States and the European Union, which have sunk to their lowest point since the Cold War amid the Ukrainian crisis. In addition, the Russian leader may be angling to make the West more receptive to Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine, while retaining influence in Syria [xxiv].

The Pentagon has been a bit more outspoken:

The U.S. intelligence community now thinks Russia may have embarked on its military buildup in Syria because Moscow believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may not be able to hang onto power and it wants to position itself to back a proxy if the regime were to collapse. It is a view shared by the Pentagon, Defense officials told CNN [xxv].

The Future of Syria

            There are no commentators or governments of the belief that President al-Assad can hold on to his presidency without concerted international support.  While the West has called for President al-Assad’s removal since 2011, the question has recently arisen as to whether President al-Assad should play some role in a transitional government, with that question only having arisen as way to pacify President Putin.

The United States intelligence community has raised key questions about Syria’s future:

U.S. intelligence still sees al-Assad’s collapse as likely to be several months away, though he has been considerably weakened over this year after losing of significant territory and directing an army that is increasingly demoralized.

The United States is trying to assess whether figures in Syria still exist who might be able to step in should al-Assad fall, a senior U.S. official told CNN, but for now doesn’t see a clear leader or dissident who could garner enough support inside Syria to take power.

The United States is concerned about the preservation of basic social structures and services that still exist in Damascus should al-Assad fall, since the regime’s implosion could open the door to a humanitarian disaster if ISIS or al Qaeda-affiliated militias were to move in [xxvi].

The Case for a Coalition Government       

This paper started out with the premise that Syria belongs to the Syrian people to whom it must be returned.  However, with its constitution supplanted since the early 1960s and over 100 Syrian factions all competing for at least local, if not regional control[xxvii], it lacks the infrastructure necessary to conduct fair elections, let along implement national governance.

“”There has always been the idea that there will be a political transition and there are differing views between members of the international community… what the steps are in the process. That is where there is more discussion ongoing,” a senior British official said.”

            The Syrian crisis presents an opportunity for the international community to come together and devise an interim coalition government.  The composition of a coalition government has not yet been explored, or at least not publicly so.  Should such a concept be entertained, there must regional representation from within Syria, a mechanism by which the voice of its refugees can be heard, and a lack of involvement by the United Nations Security Council.

This author has excluded the United Nations Security Council as two of its permanent members – Russia and China – have failed to join collective or coalition peacekeeping efforts in Syria.  Rather, any vote representing the position of the United Nations member nations must come from its General Assembly.  This raises the ancillary question of whether the United Nations Charter must be amended[xxviii].

As the United Nations has been criticized for failing to give a greater regional voice to those most affected by its decisions, the Arab League may be the effective at offering its collective vote, regional expertise and other assistance to a coalition government.

In addition, NATO, and other coalition forces[xxix] should remain ‘stakeholders’ in Syria until such time as the Syrian people have the infrastructure necessary for self-governance and until it is rendered safe for those displaced Syrian people wanting to return to their homeland.  We can all learn from Afghanistan from which peacekeeping troops withdrew before the country was properly stabilized and prepared for independent self-governance, including safeguarding its citizens’ human rights.

This begets the question as to what role Russia would play in resolving the Syrian crisis[xxx] and, more particularly, what role, if any, it would play in a transitional, coalition government[xxxi].  The one factor the international community has weighed most heavily against Russian involvement is that Russia is still backing President al-Assad[xxxii].



[i] Lardner, Cynthia, “ISIS Gone Corporate”, Game of Thrones Meets House of Cards,  June 19, 2015, as found on the www at

[ii] The 2000 and 2007 referenda elections were devoid of any opposing candidate “Bashar al-Assad wins re-election in Syria as uprising against him rages on”, June 4, 2014, The Guardian, as found on the www at (“Assad captures another seven-year term after winning almost 90% of the vote, with polling only held in government-held areas…Assad garnered 10,319,723 votes, or 88.7%.”).

Conditions within Syria at the time of the election were not conducive to a fair election in which the majority of Syrian’s did not or could not vote.  “Syria: The story of the conflict,” December 8, 2014, BBC News, as found on the www at (“Almost 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule. Syria’s bloody internal conflict has destroyed entire neighbourhoods and forced more than nine million people from their homes.

A further 6.5 million people, 50% of them children, are believed to be internally displaced within Syria, bringing the total number forced to flee their homes to more than 9.5 million – half the country’s population. An estimated 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, with 4.6 million living in areas under siege or hard to access.”).

[iii] “Q&A: Syrian activist Suhair Atassi”, February 9, 2011, Al Jazeera, as found on the www at

[iv] The Arab League consists of 22 members: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, State of Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.  Syria’s membership was suspended.  “Arab League suspends Syria”, November 12, 2011, CNN, as found on the www at

There are also four observer states:  Brasil, Venezuela, Eritrea, and India.

[v] Bassem Mroue, “Bashar Assad Resignation Called For By Syria Sit-In Activists”, April 18, 2011, The Huffington Post, Associated Press, as found on the www at See also “Syria: Mapping the conflict”, July 10 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at (“Russia and the US disagree sharply on Syria. While Russia has backed the Syrian government, and provided it with arms, the US wants to see the removal of President Assad.”).

[vi] The European Union has received most of the Syrian refugees.

See eg Chappell, Bill, “Germany, France Announce Plans To Welcome Thousands Of Migrants”, September 7, 2015, NPR News, as found on the www at“After a weekend in which tens of thousands of Syrian war refugees and other migrants reached Austria and Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is putting 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) toward coping with the influx, France has committed to receiving 24,000 migrants….”)

To date, the United States has only taken in approximately 1,000 Syrian refugees.  However, it recently indicated a statement that over the next twelve months, it would take in 10,000 Syrian refugees.  Edwards, Julia, “U.S. to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees: White House,” September 11, 2015, Reuters, as found on the www at

Conversely, the United States has born the greatest share of the cost in the fight against IS, with Great Britain’s expenditures falling second. “John Kerry to visit UK for Syria crisis talks,” September 15, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at (“The US has allowed 1,500 Syrians to resettle since the start of the conflict, and the Obama administration has said a further 10,000 will be admitted over the next year.

According to the White House, the US is the single largest donor to the Syrian crisis response, having given over $4bn (£2.6bn) since it began.”).

[vii] Lardner, Cynthia, “ISIS Gone Corporate”, Game of Thrones Meets House of Cards,  June 19, 2015, as found on the www at (Citations Omitted).

[viii] “IS, al-Qaeda, and how jihad uses chemical weapons,” September 16, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[ix] Lister, Charles, “Viewpoint: West ‘walking into abyss’ on Syria”, September 28, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[x] Id.

[xi] “David Cameron to call for new Syria peace drive at UN”, September 27, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[xii] ISIL captures last government oilfield in Syria, September 7, 2015, Al Jazeera, as found on the www at; “ISIS captured Assad’s last oil field in Syria, activists say”, September 7, 2015, ABC News, as found on the www at

[xiii] Dawar, Anil, “Alarm as Syria sells 10,000 passports with few questions asked,” September 11, 2015, Express, as found on the www at

[xiv] “How The Assad Regime Pushes Syrians Out, Fueling Refugee Surge”, September 14, 2015, NPR News, as found on the www at

[xv] Arshad, Mohammed, and Irish, John, “Russia seizes initiative in Syria crisis; France bombs Islamic State”, September 28, 2015, Reuters, as found on the www at

[xvi] Lardner, Cynthia, Game of Thrones Meets House of Cards, April 9, 2015, as found on the www at and at,

But see “Ukraine conflict: France hopes to end Russia sanctions”, September 7, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at (“French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.” This is a bilateral or mutually beneficial move as, “EU sanctions and a subsequent Russian embargo have hurt many French and European companies.”).

[xvii][xvii] A third possible asset of the Russian government is its relationship with its wealthy neighbor China.  Oddly, this relationship is not explored in a single news article discussing Russia’s involvement is Syria.  It is well known that China lacks the energy necessary for its own people.  Syria is rich in natural resources.

Whether coincidental or not, China has visibly increased is naval presence.  Russia has a naval base on Syrian soil where, thus far, only large shipments have been received.  See Tikhonova, Polina, “Has Russia Just Entered Syrian Civil War?”  September 5, 2015, Value Walk, as found on the www at  See also Petras, James, “The Two Faces of Capitalism and Left Options”, September 7, 2015, Global Research, as found on the www at (“The US has mobilized its EU followers to impose crippling economic sanctions on the Russian state and private enterprises in order to weaken its oligarchical ruling class under President Vladimir Putin, force ‘regime change’ and return Russia to the status of the pillaged vassal state under Boris Yeltsin (1990-2000).

Russia’s capitalist state, dependent on the oil and gas industries and western investments and markets, has responded by building up its military defenses. Faced with a US-imposed economic blockade and the growing militarization of US clients on Russia’s periphery, Moscow is finally developing local industries to substitute for EU and US imports and establishing alternative trading partnerships with capitalist China, India, Islamist Iran and the center-left regimes in Latin America.”)

The most obvious evidence of Russia’s presence in the Syrian Civil War emerged in November 2013, when Russian newspaper Fontanka published an article, exposing the Slavonic Corps, consisting of mercenaries sent to Syria to protect Assad’s infrastructure, particularly his oil wells.

[xviii] “Syria: Mapping the conflict”, July 10 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at (In July, it was reported that “Russia has sent advisers and hardware to Syria [and] had despatched an advance military team to Syria, as well as housing units and an air traffic control centre to an airfield.)

[xix] “Fighting around key Syria town ‘leaves 47 dead’ – activists”, September 5, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[xx] Id.

[xxi] Brennan, Christopher, “US warns Putin’s foreign minister against dangers of increased aid to Syria’s Assad as reports claim that Russia is setting up ‘forward operating base’ in war-torn country”, September 6, 2015, The Daily Mail, as found on the www at “Se(cretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister on Saturday and warned that increased presence could lead to greater loss of life

Call comes amid unconfirmed reports that soldiers speaking Russian have been seen fighting anti-government rebels in Russian-made vehicles

The United States has warned Moscow about dangers of increased aid to the Syrian government amid multiple reports that Russian soldiers had begun participating in the country’s civil war.”).

[xxii] Lister, Charles, “Viewpoint: West ‘walking into abyss’ on Syria”, September 28, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[xxiii] “Toying with Russian troop deployment to Syria, Putin appears ready to reset relations with US”. September 7, 2015, as found on the www at

[xxiv] Id. See also “Syria conflict: US presses Russia on military build-up,” Supra Endnote xxvii (“Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent opined:

Russia’s backing for Mr Assad should be seen not as a vote of confidence in Syria’s embattled president but as an investment in a country where Rmkussia believes it can play out its foreign-policy role.

Indeed Mr Putin’s military deployments signal that he will not let the Assad regime fall. This does not mean Mr Assad will be there forever.

[xxv] Starr, Barbara, “U.S.: Russia may be seeking proxy in case Syria’s Assad falls”, September 26, 2015, CNN Politics, as found on the www at

[xxvi] Id.

[xxvii] “David Cameron to call for new Syria peace drive at UN”, September 27, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at

[xxviii] “A stronger UN: The Elders hold high-level talks in Liechtenstein”, September 7, 2015, The Elders, as found on the www at (Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders, said, “The UN is a vital part of our global security and governance infrastructure but it has to change – its present arrangements are neither normal nor reasonable.”).

[xxix] “Syria conflict: US presses Russia on military build-up,” September 16, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at (“”Secretary Kerry also reaffirmed the US commitment to fight ISIL (Islamic State) with a coalition of more than 60 countries, of which Assad could never be a credible member, and emphasised the US would welcome a constructive Russian role in counter-ISIL efforts.”).

[xxx] “Syria conflict: Russia ‘to continue Assad military aid’”, September 15, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at (“Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged continued military support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad despite growing concerns over Moscow’s role in the war… The US would prefer to see more “constructive engagement” from Russia with the coalition against so-called Islamic State (IS), spokesman Josh Earnest said.”).

See also Wagner, Laura, “Putin Defends Russian Military Support For Syrian Regime”, September 15, 2015, NPR News, as found on the www at (“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday defended his decision to provide military assistance to the Syrian government, saying that cooperating with Bashar Assad’s regime is necessary in order to defeat ISIS…”)

[xxxi] Arshad, Mohammed, and Irish, John, “Russia seizes initiative in Syria crisis; France bombs Islamic State”, September 28, 2015, Reuters, as found on the www at (“Russia appeared to seize the initiative in international efforts to end the conflict in Syria…U.S. officials said Kerry was working on a new political initiative in New York that would include Russia and key regional powers.

It was announced in Baghdad that Russian military officials were working with counterparts from Iran, Syria and Iraq on intelligence and security cooperation to counter Islamic State, which has captured large areas of both Syria and Iraq.

The move was seen in the region as potentially giving Moscow more sway in the Middle East.

Russian President Vladimir Putin derided U.S. efforts to end the Syria war, which has driven a tide of refugees into neighboring states and Europe.

“We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists,” Putin said in an interview on Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

The United States, Britain and some other allies in recent days have softened demands that Assad immediately leave power, raising the possibility that he could stay during a transition.”).

[xxxii] Bays, James, “Russia steps up Syria support ‘to stop fall of Assad’”, September 26, 2015, Al Jazeera, as found on the www at (“Russia intends to step up its military involvement in Syria to prevent the “imminent” collapse of the Syrian government, the EU’s foreign policy chief [Federica Mogherini] has told Al Jazeera.”).

Plight of the Stateless

I Belong: The Plight of the Stateless


The thought of being stateless is a foreign concept to most of us. The grim reality is that the many conflicts abroad, including Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Congo, Nigeria, Libya and beyond have rendered countless individuals stateless.  The numbers from Syria alone are staggering:

“An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million have fled to Syria’s immediate neighbours Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile, under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots – 28,500 or 85% – are pledged by Germany.”  “Syrian Refugees:  A snapshot of the crisis – in the Middle East and Europe,” October 2014, Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute, as found on the www at

Under harsh conditions, refugees are displaced to other countries. They do not leave their homes willingly.  In doing so, they hope for a future, only to discover options for creating a new home and likelihood are limited.  In their hearts, the only thing they want, need and desire is to return to their homeland, to familiar customs and culture.


Most of those affected are single mothers coming from countries where women have generally not been afforded employment opportunities. Thus, they have no job skills to support their children even if such jobs were available.

The incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among refugees is high but, the likelihood of mental health treatment, at least as we know it in the West, is almost nonexistent. As a result, there is correlated higher suicide rate.

As a collective humanity, we need to support the relief effort by the NGOs, such as the Carter Center, as well as United Nations’ various subgroups such as the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programmer (UNDP) and the United Nations High Commission of Rights (UNHCR).

Child Brides

Child Brides: A Humanitarian Crisis


Every two seconds a young girl is married.  That equals 25,000 thousand child brides married each and every day.  The numbers quickly add up.

Annually, an estimated 10-14 million girls under age 18 married and, of that number one in seven is married by age 15, with some brides but mere children at the tender ages 8 and 9.  All and all, there are more than 60 million child brides.

The highest rates of child brides are found in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  In Africa and globally, Nigeria has the highest incidence of child brides, with a full 75% of it is girls, married as children.  In Southeast Asia, India has the highest incidence of child brides, with 46% of its girls married before age 18; with a concentration of these marriages in poverty-stricken Bangladesh.

Child brides also come from Latin America, The Caribbean the Middle East and even Central Europe.

Child brides come from the poorest families who are unable to otherwise provide for themselves, their other children or their daughters.  Often they are ‘sold’ to their adult husbands.  A Mozambique girl is “only worth” $1-1,000.00, whereas an Iraqi girl might fetch a price of $2,500 to 5,000.00.

Girls under age 15 who are forced into marriage (or raped) and become pregnant are five more likely to die during the birthing process than a woman aged 20-24.

Their children are at risk too.  A baby born to teenager is 16 times more like to die during its first year of life, than a baby born to a young woman of 18 or older.

Child brides are more likely to be domestic violence victims.  Globally, a full one-half of all adolescent girls believe that a husband has the right to strike his wife in anger.

Child brides are more likely to develop HIV and other health related issues.


Child brides are removed from the educational process and, if called upon to do so, are left with no skills to support themselves or any children they may have.  It is no coincidence that the five African countries with the highest levels of child brides, Niger, Chad, Tanzania,Mozambique and Burkina Faso, also have the lowest rates of educated women.

On a macro level, permitting young girls to be married fetters the countries condoning this practice, all lacking any semblance of infrastructure, to a cycle of poverty.


Graca Marcal, Nelson Mandela’s surviving spouse and a co-founding member of The Elders, a nonpartisan peacekeeping group, has been a strong advocate opposing the incidence of child brides.  For more information, visit

Child brides violates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, The Protocol for the African Charter on Human, and The People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in African.

The Council of Foreign Relations has sponsored an informative video on the distressing issue of child brides.  To watch visit:

Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of over 400 civil society organisations spanning 60 countries, including UNICEF, is committed to ending child marriage. To learn more, visit:

You can also follow Girls Not Brides on Twitter at @GirlsNotBrides



Council on Foreign Relations, “Child Marriage” InfoGuide Presentation,” January 8, 2014, as found on the www at “(Child marriage remains widespread in developing countries, disproportionately affecting girls and endangering their lives and livelihoods. Rooted in cultural tradition and poverty, the practice not only violates human rights laws but also threatens stability and economic development…International conventions prohibit child marriage and define eighteen as the age of adulthood. These laws are based on the argument that children and adolescents are not mature enough to make choices about marriage, and that marrying too young can lead to lasting emotional, physical, and psychological harm. Moreover, development experts say child marriage stunts girls’ educational opportunities and income-earning prospects, and perpetuates poverty in communities worldwide, inhibiting progress toward national and global development goals and threatening stability. Delaying the age of marriage and investing in girls’ futures, they say, can have a multiplier effect that benefits the communities at large.”).

Beat, J., Mirror, as found on the www at (“terrified women captured by Islamic State are strangling each other or killing themselves to escape rape and torture as sex slaves.”).

Diehm, J., “1 In 9 Girls Marries Before Age 15, And Here’s What Happens To Them”. December 10, 2013, The Huffington Post, as found on the www at

Dicker, R., “ISIS Reportedly Releases Guide On How To Treat Sex Slaves”, December 14, 2014, The Huffington Post.

“Why Aren’t World Leaders Angrier About Violence Against Women?”, NPR, December 9, 2014, as found on the www at

ISIS Gone Corporate

Game of Thrones

By:  Cynthia M. Lardner



            “How We Begin to Remember” is a work born of love and faith.   Not just my love and faith, but the love and faith that has been unconditionally been extended to myself and my family over the past year by a most remarkable global community.

As such, “How We Begin to Remember” will not subject to copyright. I would only ask that if reproduced in all or part that there be attribution.

Given the time sensitive nature of Chapter One, Corporatized Terrorism, it is being released in advance and without copyright protection.  I would only ask that if reproduced, in all or part, that there be attribution.

Subsequent chapters are close to completion.  As each chapter is finalized, it will be posted on-line.  I look forward to the day when “How We Begin to Remember” is published in its entirety.

Love, Light, Humility and an Abundance of Heartfelt Gratitude,

Cynthia M. Lardner

January 17, 2015

Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1  Corporatized Terrorism
  • ISIS in a Nutshell
  • The Significance of World Religion
  • Jesus to Mohammed:  The Birth of Islam
  • Calphifate in the Modern Day World
  • Professionalization and Corporatization of Terrorism
  • Annual Reports Substantiate Corporate Terrorism
  • Unlimited Funding
  • Human Resources
  • Military Operations
  • ISIS:  Case Studies
  • Israel
  • Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
  • The Holiest of Holies: Jerusalem
  • The Intervening Years
  • Modern Day Israel
  • ISIS and Hamas: The Bottom Line
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Conclusion
  • About The Author

Author’s Note

Last March, when the 276 school girls were kidnapped in Nigeria, I began tweeting about it using the hashtag #BringBackTheGirls.  A few weeks later, my email provider notified me that someone in Lagos, Nigeria attempted to hack into my account.  Terrorism felt pretty personal right about then.

I needed to understand.  So, I began following the news hoping the school girls would be found.  I came across the story of a courageousness young Nigerian boy, who inspired this book.  I would like to share his story with you.  This is the only news story without a reference, as to include it might further jeopardize his or his family’s safety.

“I knew they had started out as holy men

but now I saw them as criminals,

loaded with weapons and ammunition”

These are the words spoken by a 15 year old young man who hides deep in the forests of Nigeria.  In most countries we would regard him as a child whose welfare requires protection.  And there is nothing more I would like to do wrap that young man in a protective cloak of unconditional love.  You see, he witnessed horrific acts of violence by not just Boko Haram but by the Nigerian vigilantes.

At the tender age of 14, when most boys are playing rugby or basketball, he was forcibly ‘recruited’ by Boko Haram to serve as a child soldier.  To demonstrate his loyalty to a terrorist group whose views he secretly did not subscribe to, he was ordered to kill his own father.  To spare his father’s life, he risked his own life by narrowly fleeing.

Boko Haram retaliated against him by widely disseminating the bounty it had placed on his head, the equivalent of a Fatwa or death sentence.  In a country impoverished by not only war, but by a lack of concerted international support, people who would do anything to be rid of terrorism would be hard-pressed to resist such a temptation.  His family was no different.  They subsisted on the land with no access to electricity or running water.

Still putting the needs of his family before his own need to be reunited with his parents and five siblings, he didn’t return home.  Comforted only by his memories of having once had an ‘affectionate childhood’, he set off to speak truth about Boko Haram to the Nigerian government.  It was a logical decision, as like children around the world, he had been taught to trust governmental leaders.  He bared his soul about tactics, strategies, locations and atrocities witnessed provided invaluable information.

He was again lured to serve as a child soldier; this time for a vigilante group supporting the Nigerian military.

“But he was soon exposed to brutality of a different kind

this time from the government side.

It felt good at first,

but then they shot him [a Boko Haram member] dead

right in front of me…”

He stayed with the vigilante group located in a small village deep Nigeria’s forests.  Not too long after, reports trickled in that not only had Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls but it had torched a vehicle not too far from his village.

“Everyone we spoke to was full of fear.

They didn’t want to come out of their homes.”

Not this young man.   Armed with little more than courage, he guided a small group of vigilantes searching for the scene uncertain what they might find.  Because of him they located not only the scene but two of the 276 schoolgirls.

‘They were seated on the ground at the base of the trees, their legs stretched out in front of them – they were hardly conscious.”  Lashed to a tree, their wrists bound, faces riddled with scratches and still bleeding, there only protection from heat, humidity and insects were the tattered remains of once-treasured school uniforms, the trauma left them unable to barely able to communicate.

What little was learned was that they had raped.  Under Sharia law, they had been defiled.  They had no value as potential as ‘wives’ to Boko Haram members or to others to whom they might have been sold or bartered.

After being raped, Boko Haram members had mercilessly dragged them through the bush to this clearing where they had been left to die a slow, lonely death.  By any standard, this was barbaric.

If it were not for this young man’s immense courage and conviction, these girls would have been forever lost to their families and to a village that still yearns for the return of the 222 girls who are still missing.

This young man is not only a hero.  He is my hero.

That was March 2011.

It was the catalyst to my more closely paying attention to the news.  I also read reports of the citizens of other innumerable other countries subjected to terrorism and humanitarian crises.  As I ardently read the daily news, the reality was that I had understood little about what was happening in our world and why.

This is no longer the case.  I have come to not only understand but, I have felt immense empathy and even existential despair as I learned not only about terrorism but also about war, humanitarian crises, global financial stability, climate change, and causal conditions.

I have a dream.  It’s a dream about how we begin to remember.


Universally, we desire to live in a peaceful world. Peace includes harmony, equality, respect, justice, unification and stability. Stability requires governmental infrastructures sufficient to fully and fairly provide for basic needs – sustenance, programming and financial security – regardless of country, religion, race or personal stature.  The world is lacking in stability.

This deficit exists because of historical hatreds, passed from one generation to the next, creating a cycle of fear.  We have learned to mistrust anyone not sharing our race, our religion or our country of origin. Fear has immobilized us.  It has produced well-intentioned but misguided leaders, and has been a breeding ground corrupt governments and terrorism, leaving us besieged by wars, humanitarian crises, civil rights violations, and climate change.

We need to turn back the hands of time. It is time to return to love. It is time to take back our power and come together as “ONE”.  As ONE we can heal.  With healing comes peace.

This series of posts to be successively published focuses on inter-related issues not only confronting but challenging global security and stability:

  • Terrorism
  • The Foundation of the Global Crises
  • Economic Inequality Leading to Economic Terrorism
  • Humanitarian Crises
  • Climate Change
  • Leadership

Each post is premised upon research, data, expert opinions, news reports and history, representing a meta-analysis of information.

Chapter 1 ISIS Gone Corporate

I.      ISIS in a Nutshell

“The group’s leaders portray themselves as akin to seventh century warriors thundering forth on horseback to expand their religious empire by sword…[but] it’s become clear that its sophistication reaches well beyond video production and messaging[1].”

When thinking about terrorism, ISIS almost exclusively is called to mind. ISIS has existed in its present incarnation since the early 1990s under various names and in various shapes[i][2]. ISIS would have us believe that it is headed by a group of disorganized men squirreled away in mountainous caverns filming aberrant videos. This is not the case.

Set against ever-escalating humanitarian crises, these numbers are representative of terrorism’s impact:

17,958 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, that’s 61% more than the previous year.

82% of all deaths from terrorist attacks occur in just 5 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.

Last year terrorism was dominated by four groups: the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIL, and al Qa’ida.

More than 90% of all terrorist attacks occur in countries that have gross human rights violations.

40 times more people are killed by homicides than terrorist attacks[3].

The human carnage thus far tallied is nothing compared to what ISIS envisions.  Its fighters have been urged “to take their battle everywhere and “light the Earth with fire upon all tyrants”[4].

“The terrifying reality of the scale of atrocities planned by ISIS have been revealed by the regime who reported the brutal terrorists are “enthusiastic about killing hundreds off millions of people”….despite ISIS’ shocking actions so far in 2014, the worst is yet to come[5][ii].”

ISIS actively operates in countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo[6].

Fast facts:

  • It is structured after the Fortune 50, employing the most effective corporate governance model.
  • “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is the richest insurgency group in the world with this years annual $2 billion dollars[7][iii].
  • Meticulous annual reports exist as far back as 2007.
  • It is unfettered by geographical boundaries.
  • It is headquartered in both Iraq and Syria.
  • It has diversified, building relationships with governments and terrorist groups not sharing its ideology.
  • Management is decentralized.  With day-to-day decisions and fundraising occurring at the local level, eliminating ISIS leaders will not impact operations[8][iv].
  • At no level, does any group retain more than two weeks of operating capital.
  • Global recruitment extends beyond the Islamic population.
  • Well-paid fighters undergo regular performance evaluations.
  • Targets are predetermined and acts of terrorism precisely executed.
  • ISIS engages in genocide.
  • ISIS has used traditional Islamic teachings on governance to attract supporters and to seize control of territory[9].
  • It purports to govern in underdeveloped areas, where people lack access to an infrastructure providing for the even the most fundamental of needs, their governments unable to secure financing from pre-existing, predominantly Western sources.
  • It has access to a new world banking system, the New Development Bank or BRICS, established by five countries, representing 40% of the world’s population, of which China has taken the lead

The bottom line:  Modern day terrorism is corporatized and professional[10].

This paper is based on facts from such trusted institutions as:

  • U.S. Department of State
  • The United Nations
  • National Counterterrorism Center
  • Combating Terrorism Center at the S. Military Academy at West Point
  • The Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California
  • National Defense Research ­Institute of Rand Corp., a S. ­Department of Defense-funded think tank, Santa Monica, California
  • The Institute for the Study of War
  • The Council of Foreign Relations
  • Congressional Research Service
  • Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • The Political Science ­Department at Barnard College, Columbia University
  • Pew Research Center
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, Terrorism Index
  • Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index
  • Islamic Relief USA
  • Fund for Support of Islamic Culture, Science and Education
  • President Barack Obama’s Deputy Special Envoy on the Syria and Iraq crisis
  • The Central Intelligence Agency
  • Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation

In the public domain, this existing data has never before been presented as a collective body of work.

II.    The Significance of World Religion

The world’s religions are foundation for most modern day institutions, including our governments, ISIS, and other terrorist groups.  Understanding the history of world religion is essential to understanding ISIS.

          A.      Jesus to Mohammed:  The Birth of Islam

For nearly 600 years, the Christian, Islamic and Jewish populations were ONE[11], with Jesus a common denominator[12].

In about 570 AD, the Prophet Muhammad bn ʿAbd al-Wahhab was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the ancestral home of Levant descendants[v].  The Prophet Muhammad believed he had been instructed by the Angel Gabriele to serve as God’s prophet and messenger to teach. The Prophet Muhammad taught that there is one God or Allah. The Prophet Mohammad’s original teachings inspired a way of life, known as din[13]:

The Arabic word “Islam” simply means “submission”, and is derived from a word meaning “peace” and a life focused on peace, mercy, and forgiveness. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. “Mohammedanism” is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad, peace be upon him, rather than God. “Allah” is the Arabic name for God, which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians[14].

While the Prophet Muhammad taught, “None of you is a believer until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself,” Jews who resisted converting to Islam were deemed enemies and expelled[15].

The Prophet Muhammad “…institutionalized the “doctrine of “One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque[16]”, giving rise to the title of “Calphifate”.  A Calphifate is a prophet sent by God to lead of all of Islam under a just system of governance.

“The last caliphate – that of the Ottomans – was officially abolished 90 years ago…Yet in a 2006 Gallup survey of Muslims living in Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia and Pakistan, two-thirds of respondents said they supported the goal of “unifying all Islamic countries” into a new caliphate[17][vi].”

          B.      Caliphate in the Modern Day World

The idea of a caliphate has never gone away.  And now that it is here again after a hiatus of nearly 100 years, as a concrete matter of fact, it will focus the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people. The critical question is not, ‘How can we thwart or destroy the caliphate?’ because attempts to do that will likely backfire. Rather the question is, ‘How can we live with and transform the idea and reality of a caliphate – and one that will be nuclear-capable probably sooner rather than later – into something that does not threaten other peoples’ ways of life?’ That is a question for everyone, but it is not even on our political radar[18].

This was the position taken by Scott Atran, Anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University, in a report he prepared for the U.S. Department of Defense and Congress.

“T]here are speculations about non-Muslim geopolitical players awaiting a caliphate,[19]” stated Ali Vyacheslav Polosin, Deputy Support of Islamic Culture.

ISIS has tapped into this need. Its leader, Abu Bakr, recently announced he is the newest Caliphate; a prophet directed by God to govern over all of Islam:

On June 29, 2014—or the first of Ramadan, 1435, for those who prefer the Islamic calendar to the Gregorian—the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) publicly uttered for the first time a word that means little to the average Westerner, but everything to some pious Muslims. The word is “caliph.” ISIS’s proclamation that day formally hacked the last two letters from its acronym (it’s now just “The Islamic State”) and declared Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, born Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai, the Caliph of all Muslims and the Prince of the Believers. For Muslims of a certain hyper-antiquarian inclination, these titles are not mere nomenclature[20].

[T]he Middle East is being reformatted…That is why their interest in reformatting of the space and formation of obedient regimes goes under the slogan “caliphate”, stated Polosin[21].

ISIS size and structure render it positioned to withstand, if not ignore, regional challenges by other groups and governments who have questioned Abu Bakr’s proclamation[vii].

As explored herein, ISIS and Abu Bakr’s use of the Caliphate title has created the false perception that it will provide the infrastructure lacking in underdeveloped countries, and the just governance, honoring human rights, many countries have failed to provide.  The promise has attracted disenfranchised and unempowered Muslims and non-Muslims from around the world who have placed their need for fair and responsive governance above any ideological conflict.

III.    Professionalization and Corporatization of Terrorism

ISIS strength has been attributed to it being run the same as a top-ranked corporation.  This has been established by multiple counter-intelligence terrorism agencies and experts who have analyzed a voluminous and comprehensive data pool of ISIS records.  What follows is the remarkable story of how this data was discovered.

In 2007, U.S. Marines patrolling in Iraq found nine documents in a roadside ditch.  “They included financial records, payrolls, supply purchase records, administrative records, and other details of fund flows into and out of a single local cell…[already] calling itself the “Islamic State of Iraq[22].”

A few months later, allies seized a computer hard drive “holding ledgers with 1,200 files detailing the finances and operations of provincial-level managers…[23]”.

In 2013, a 410 page annual report was discovered after having been tweeted:

[T]he group tweeted a link to a sort of annual report written in Arabic and covering 410 pages. It details ­attack-related metrics drawn from 7,681 operations executed in Iraq during the Muslim calendar year ended November 2013. The data are extensive, measuring casualties across 18 different types of operations in 2012 and 2013. These include ­assassinations (almost doubling in 2013, to 1,083), suicide car and truck bombs (more than tripling, to 78), and detonation of roadside bombs or other so-called ­improvised explosive devices (4,465 in 2013, up 62 percent from the previous year)[24].

The tweet was accompanied by the following graphic:


Acting like a Fortune 500 firm, ISIS has continued issuing “slick annual reports in 2012, 2013, 2014 and, just recently, in 2015[26].”

          A.  Substantiated Corporate Terrorism

“The foundation of its management model, as identified by experts, is more akin to that of General Motors than it is to a ­religious dynasty from the Dark Ages. After decades, we may have arrived at the ultimate professionalization of terror[27].”

The 2007 Anbar cache was submitted for analysis by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the National Defense Research ­Institute of Rand Corp. (Rand), a U.S. ­Department of Defense-funded think tank.  The records were so detailed that Rand was able to forensically reconstruct the “back-office operations of a terrorist insurgency from its local level up to its divisional headquarters”[28], summarized in its 2010 report, know as the Rand Study:

[ISIS] was ­decentralized, organized, and run on what’s called the “multidivisional—hierarchy form” of management, or M-form for short[viii].

It’s the structure that started taking root in the corporate world in the 1920s…creating semiautonomous divisions ordered largely around geography, freeing…top leaders from daily decision-making so they could focus on strategy and overall performance. Divisions also were largely self-­financed[ix].

[P]rovincial division offered ­influence, oversight, and some financing to smaller, semi­autonomous cells within the province, closely monitoring their books and their results. But it left day-to-day decisions to the local commanders. The cells carrying out the group’s daily functions were organized into units such as finance, intelligence, military, medical, media[x], logistics, and even a courier arm called the “mail” division. Bosses for each specialty at the headquarters…monitored performance…But command ­decisions appear to have been left largely to the locals.

ISIS operates like an armed multinational corporation,” opined James Nathan, Khalid Bin Sultan Eminent Scholar at Auburn Montgomery[29].

The 2013 annual report that was ‘tweeted’ was also analyzed at the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which concluded that “[By] comparing the group’s reporting with press accounts for almost 200 attacks in the Baghdad area, the West Point analysts found Islamic State’s self-reported casualty numbers were, for the most part, accurate[30].”

The Institute for the Study of War[xi] explained why ISIS publishes annual reports:

There are many reasons why a military organization would collect and publish attack metrics. First, metrics effectively demonstrate the use of centrally distributed resources, such as suicide bombers. Second, metrics provide a higher command with a means to compare subordinate commands and to control main efforts. Third, attack metrics provide a means to communicate organizational efficacy to outside parties, such as donors, al-Qaeda groups, and adversaries[31].

The method by which ISIS “…compiles its metrics evinces a frightening yet “very rational managerial ­approach” under the corporate model[32][xii],” stated Alexander Cooley, Middle-Eastern expert and Political Science Chairman at Barnard College, Columbia University.

In sum, decentralized management makes eliminating ISIS virtually impossible.  Air strikes targeting its leadership, if successful, will have little or no impact on funding or day-to-day operations.  “[H]ow challenging it will be to reverse the group’s gains solely by killing [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi or other central leaders. The very nature of such a group makes it harder to attack from the top down.  When these functions get reproduced locally, chapter by chapter, then they almost become modular in their nature and substitutable[33],” confirmed Mr. Cooley.

Former Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hegel, summarized, “They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded[34].”

            B.      Unlimited Funding

“The ISIS budget for the year 2015 budget will be $2 billion…funding of its war efforts against the West…Fouad Ali, an analyst, who studies armed resistance groups in Iraq, expressed the view that the projected $2 billion budget can be an understatement[35].”

Income is derived from oil, raided weaponry sales and taxes imposed on businesses and merchants. But, it is the banal nature of plunder, a form of modern day piracy, which is most alarming.  ISIS generates “…$6 million a day from looting, taxes, kidnapping, black marketing of oil and private funding from sympathisers in the Gulf[36]”.  Bounty includes girls, some a mere seven or eight years old, married to ISIS members or sold as child brides[xiii].

Local groups are self-funded.  Surplus funds are diverted downstream to subunits or upstream to the bolster ISIS’ ­‘National Treasury’.  Monies sent up-stream represent only a portion of ISIS funding.  Significant funds are reaped by its leaders from oil[xiv]:

The Syrian war also gave al-Baghdadi another asset: oil. It’s helped make the group rich. Starting with its violent seizure of border crossings in Syria last year, which allowed it to profit from oil smuggling, Islamic State has built an asset base around crude widely estimated at up to $2 billion. By August it controlled more than a dozen oil fields in Iraq and Syria, which were ­estimated by the International Energy Agency to be generating 70,000 barrels a day. U.S.-led airstrikes subsequently reduced that output by 70 percent, according to the IEA[37].

ISIS is immune to declining oil prices as it is now “…generating resources through large-scale attacks aimed at capturing and holding territory,[38]” consistent with Abu Bakr purporting to act as new Caliphate.

The Rand Study found ISIS adheres to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), its records compliant with the M-form’s semi-autonomous model.  Using GAAP, local units meticulously detail revenues under the macabre heading “Spoils Division”, which after being reported to ISIS management, appear on its annual reports as a  ‘line item’ used to evaluate local managers job performance.

As part of its M-model decentralization, ‘accountants’ at all levels never hold more than two weeks worth of operating cash, guarantying ISIS’ continuation even if one or more leaders or groups are eliminated[39]

       C.  Human Resources

“ISIS campaigns—involving towed field guns, self-propelled armor and first-class tanks—do not come cheap. ISIS columns advance using satellites and thermal cameras, driven by skilled professionals who are paid serious wages, estimated at well north of $1,000 a month[40].”

The CIA states ISIS has recruited than 30,000 fighters.  As of July  “…more than 12,000 foreign fighters had traveled to Syria to fight with extremist groups, many of them now counted among ISIS’s ranks, including more than 1,000 westerners, around 100 of them American. Later estimates put the number of foreign fighters in Syria at approximately 15,000,” stated Matthew Olsen,  Director of the National Counterterrorism Center[41].


Todenhöfer himself personally observed “…hundreds of fighters arriving each day [in Iraq alone] to join ISIS, with recruits from all over the world and all walks of life. They include graduates – with one lawyer telling Todenhöfer he had turned down a job offer to come and fight in Iraq – as well as recruits from Sweden, Britain, and America.[42]

ISIS’ human resources campaign preys on the needs of others based on two separate, yet related, principles.  First, by declaring himself Calphifate, Abu Bakr has preyed upon the general Islamic community’s devotion to its historical teachings.  Second, ISIS has used the international community’s failure to insure that basic needs are fairly and equally met, such as protecting against civil rights violations or providing clean water for the one billion people who go without, to generate followers from amongst the disenfranchised[43].

For instance, Dr. Iman Mustafa al-Bugha, resigned her post as a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at the University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia, to join the Islamic State’s armies in northern Syria:

For the moment I realized the tragedies of the Muslim peoples I became a member of [Islamic State] even before [IS] was created…. ‘Jihad’ is the way, the true way of the Islamic State. Its leaders cannot change a thing on its way to a just victory and if al-Bagdadi were to stray from this path, we would replace him; the true way – the Jihad – lights the path of the true believers who abandoned the world and its dissolute ways to fulfill their duty unto death[44].

ISIS is “…leveraging social media and other media channels in pushing its propaganda by projecting a picture of normal civil life[45].  ISIS’ state of the art computer network recruits via social media, sending tens of thousands of tweets each day[xv].

It has even recruited in racially-torn Ferguson, Missouri, where it targeted “…the criminals, not the peaceful protesters in Ferguson. ISIS wants nothing to do with people fighting for social justice.”  According to the FBI, used Twitter to send messages with the hash tags #IslamicState, #Ferguson and #Coming[46].

        D.  Military Operations

“[I]ts metrics evinces a frightening yet “very rational managerial approach” under the corporate model,” reported Michael Knights, Iraqi military analyst and Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy[47].

“Performance is based on suffering, death, and destruction…in 2007 and every year since, an annual report, filled with “macabre metrics of armed attacks, assassinations, suicide bombings, house bombings, prisoners freed, suicide vest bombings, suicide car bombings. And they are broken down across all of their regions of operation…”[48][xvi]

ISIS targets women and children[49]. “[T]errified women captured by Islamic State are strangling each other or killing themselves to escape rape and torture as sex slaves[50].

“It is kind of scary,” concluded Mr. Simpson.

IV.      ISIS: Case Studies

ISIS, having increased its Middle Eastern and North African presence, as well as forging relationships with governments known for corruption, regardless of whether its ideology is hared, has defied geographical borders[51], giving it control over 58 million individuals[52].

It would take a book to explain the sheer breadth of ISIS’ reign of terror[xvii].  The enormity of the imminent threat ISIS poses can be contextually explored by examining recent events in Israel, Turkey and Syria.

          A.  Israel

1.       Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

Whether we are of Jewish descent or not, the memories, the photographs and, most importantly, the stories of Jews and their supporters who suffered or lost their lives during the Holocaust defy description and blacken history.  Genocide is one example of scientific racism.

Scientific racism wrongly supports or justifies racism, racial inferiority, and racial superiority or, alternatively, classifying and differentiating between individuals of discrete races.  Thus, segregating, deporting, forcible displacing or destroying ancestral homelands are also forms of scientific racism, referred to as ‘ethnic cleansing’.

Scientific racism is not only human rights violation, it is a war crime.

Nonetheless, our modern day world is still beleaguered by genocide and ethnic cleansing. The most serious incidences are occurring in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  Russia [xviii], China [xix] and ISIS are committing genocide. ISIS, also as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)[53] was “…an idea created as a result of centuries of European racism and Anti-Semitism against Arabs and Muslims…[54]”.  ISIS targets Jews, Euro-Asian Muslims who are not of Levant descent, Sh’iat Muslims, and other minorities, such as the Yazidis and Turks[55].  Conversely, since becoming a state in 1948, the Israeli government has engaged in the ethnic cleansing of the primarily Islamic Palestinians.

“Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was “nothing in comparison” and Al Qaeda are “peanuts” compared to ISIS’ intentions,[56] remarked Todenhöfer having just spent 10 days with ISIS leaders in Iraq.

               B. The Holiest of Holies: Jerusalem 

Jerusalem is sacred for Christians, Romans, Jews and Muslims; its history predating both Christianity and Islam.  The Old Testament or Hebrew Bible teach that it was from Jerusalem that God created our Earth, and Adam and Eve, ancestors common to all of mankind.  Those traditions teach it is a sacred place to be One with God’s Divinity.

In 515 BC.21, a temple was constructed King Solomen intended as a perpetual home for the legendary Ark of the Covenant.  That temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times, with the Western Wall, also called the Wailing Wall, added. Islam teaches that Muhammad journeyed here and that it was from there that he ascended into heaven.  Adjacent to the original site are the Gardens of Gethsemane, believed to be the site of the crucifixion.

“[T]the situation in Jerusalem prior to 1967 [under Jordanian rule] was one of … religious exclusion” whereas post-1967, Israel seeks “to reach a point of religious inclusion …,” explained former UN Jordanian ambassador, Adnan Abu Odeh[57].   During this period, there was no freedom of religious expression forcing Jews and Levant Muslims to peacefully live alongside one another.


The 1967 “Six-Day War” ended Jordanian rule. A declaration of peace was proclaimed by Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol:

[A]ll holy sites would be protected and that all faiths would be free to worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem. He declared his intention to give the spiritual leaders of the various religions internal management of their own Holy Sites[58].

Days later, a reunification ceremony was held at the Wailing Wall.  Israel’s Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan reiterated the intention of preserving religious freedom for people of all faiths:

To our Arab neighbors we extend, especially at this hour, the hand of peace. To members of the other religions, Christians and Muslims, I hereby promise faithfully that their full freedom and all their religious rights will be preserved. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others[59].

Thereafter, Jews from around the world flocked to Israel seeking freedom from Antisemitism. The Holocaust had understandably traumatized its survivors, leaving unhealed wounds manifested as fear and fear morphed into hatred.  Thus, the advent of the State of Israel the following year, in 1948, did not herald the tolerance Israel’s founding Jewish elders contemplated less than a year prior.

Israel began an ardent campaign of ethnic cleansing.  Palestinians, predominantly of Islamic descent, were deported and forcibly displaced, their homelands planted over with groves of trees.  Over time, those Palestinians unable or unwilling to flee were corralled into settlement camps, including the Gaza Strip and denied access to Jerusalem[xx].  The Palestinians fell into the endless cycle of hatred becoming Israel’s co-equal partners in perpetuating violence.

               3.  The Intervening Years

Resembling England, Israel has a non-secular parliamentary government.  It has an elected parliament, known as the Knesset, which, in turn, elects a Prime Minister as its chief executive, making the office holder the most powerful political figure in the country[60].  Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s three-time Prime Minister[xxi].  Israel also has a President, a de jure Head of the State, an apolitical and ceremonial role.

Under the auspices of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and predating the end of Jordanian rule, Yasser Arafat[61], now-deceased, led the Palestinians.  PLO governance was internationally recognized until in 1988.  Shift was precipitated by Mr. Arafat’s declaration in a speech delivered to the UN that all people could live together in peace.  This resulted in the 1994 and 1995 Oslo I and II accords, intended to bring about “opportunities for a new development toward fraternity in the Middle East.”

The Oslo accords recognized the PLO’s Palestinian Authority (PA) governance over the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jericho[62].  Mr. Arafat then became the PA’s first President, and pledging to protect against Arab terrorist attacks, he was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize[63].

The PLO is structured after Europe’s dual political system. The balance of power between its executive, legislative and judicial branches is patterned after U.S. system of checks and balances[64].  Due to the ongoing tragedies, its parliament, the Palestinian National Council, exists in exile.

In 2002, President Arafat offered Hamas and other militant groups, implicated in Israeli bombings, cabinet posts.[65].  Hamas, formed in 1987, is a Sunni terrorist group and an Al Queda by-product[xxii].

President Arafat died in 2004.  He was succeeded by former PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is still in office today.

In June 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated the ‘two-state solution’ former leaders had pursued was no longer be considered.  Paradoxically, he stated Israel endorsed a Palestine existing as a neighboring but demilitarized state.  Displaced Palestinian prohibited from returning to their ancestral lands.  And, ignoring the naturally occurring growth of Palestinian population, an expansion of lands beyond that which they had been relegated since 1967 would not be considered[66].  Jerusalem would remain under Israel’s sole governance. Last, the Palestinians had to recognize Israel as the Jewish national state.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu’s talk may have satiated other governments wanting a ‘carrot tossed’, it was illusory, offering the Palestinians absolutely nothing.

Reflecting a “racist and extremist ideology…Netanyahu’s speech closed the door to permanent status negotiations,” came Hamas’ response.

                4.  Modern Day Israel

The two most significant turmoil’s in the Middle East today are Israel’s continued occupation, oppression and colonization of the Palestinian people reflected most recently in Operation Protective Edge as well as the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in relation to Syria and Iraq. Notwithstanding the normalization of suffering and injustice that the world has been conditioned to embrace in relation to the Palestinians and given Netanyahu’s constant warped comparison of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to Hamas, it is ironic but also not surprising that there are more similarities between the State of Israel and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in comparison to their differences in terms of significance and consequences in the region[67].

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated on July 8, 2014 when Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’, a military operation targeting the Gaza Strip.  In the first five weeks, almost 2,000 Palestinians died and another 10,000 were injured[68].  News reports, peppered with violent images, depicted the young, the infirm, the elderly and woman, left with no safe place to hide, while Hamas ‘fighters’ safely hid in a series of controversial tunnels.

“[B]ranches of the same poisonous tree,” “Hamas and ISIS to be “brother organizations””, stated Prime Minister Netanyahu in late December.[69]  He quoted the PLO as having threatened that, “The Zionist entity is an aggressor and cancerous tumor which should be annihilated sooner or later,” and that Iranian armament of “…the West Bank is of high priority.”[70]

An Iranian[xxiii] Hamas representative responded that “Israel’s annihilation has begun and the new generation in Iran will certainly witness our victory over Israel,” adding the Iranians would be providing more ‘advanced’ weapons[71].

               5.  ISIS and Hamas:  The Bottom Line

Since then, events related to the Israel-Palestine conflict have rapidly evolved:

December 30thThe UN Security Council rejected Palestine’s request that it be recognized as a member state, with the restoration of the lands captured by Israel in 1967, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  Palestine offered Israel three-years to withdraw[72]. “The defeated resolution would have affirmed the urgent need to achieve “a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution” to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within 12 months[73].”

December 31s.  Palestine filed a request to become a member state of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [xxiv].  The ICC has 120 member states largely common to the UN.  Thus, while they are independent entities, a cooperative relationship exists[74].

December 31st.  President Mahmoud Abbas signed the ICC’s governing Treaty of Rome which, effective, April 1st, makes an ICC member nation and empowering it “…to exercise jurisdiction over war crimes committed by anyone on Palestinian territory, without a referral from the U.N. Security Council”[75].

December 31st.  The U.S. State Department called Palestine’s decision to seek redress via the ICC “…an “escalatory” step that “badly damages the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace””[76][xxv].

January 2nd.  Israel announced that it will not honor current interim peace accords and transfer to the Palestinian people $127 million in December 2014 taxes collected on their behalf as matter of the public trust, which are to be transferred monthly to the Palestinian Authority[77].

January 5th.  Israeli President Reuven Rivlin disagreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to freeze tax revenues due the Palestinian people[78].  Fearless in his outspokenness, in October, President Rivlin stated, “The time has come to admit that Israel is a sick society, with an illness that demands treatment.[79]

January 5th.  The U.S.’s response initial response reflected conflict.  Having stated it would veto UN Security Council action on Palestine’s behalf and expressing opposition to the ICC intervention, it expressed opposition Israel freezing of tax revenues.

January 5th.  U.S. State Department Spokesman Jen Psaki issued a statement that $400 million in annual aid to Pakistan could be negatively impacted by Congressional action.  The U.S. Congress is pro-Israel and any action taken could survive a presidential veto[80].

January 6th.  EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini stated that “Israel’s move to freeze the transfer of some NIS 500 million to the Palestinian Authority in response to the PA’s joining the International Criminal Court and its declared intention to bring Israelis to the court on war crimes charges[81].”

January 6thContrary to the EU, France called Palestine’s an impediment to peace[82].

January 6th.  The Palestinians, indicating that the PA may dissolve without the tax revenues due it, filed a complaint with the UN protesting Israel’s decision[83].

January 7th.  For purposes of becoming an ICC member state, the U.S. indicated that it “…does not believe that the state of Palestine qualifies as a sovereign state and does not recognize it as such and does not believe that it is eligible.” Following introduction of a bill by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) to terminate Pakistani aid to Pakistan should it accepted as an ICC member, the U.S. State Department indicated the Obama administration was now “consulting with Congress”[84].

palestine joins ICC

January 7th.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed Palestine would become an recognized ICC member on April 1[85][xxvi]

January 15th.  An ““ever-widening trust deficit” risks hampering future peace talks” exists as “neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis had taken the “challenging steps or made the bold decisions” required to rebuild trust,” stated Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Assistant Secretary-General ad interim for UN Political Affairs, in a Briefing the UN Security Council[86].

Contextually, these events reflect ISIS has conveniently ended its relationship with Hamas and the PLO[xxvii].

It boils down to the first rule of economics:

                        There is no such thing as a free lunch.

The Palestinian people lack any assets to be kicked up-stream to ISIS. And, the Palestinians certainly have no land for ISIS to control as part of its expansion plan.  ISIS and, more particularly, Abu Bakr’s absence as the Caliphate, speaks for itself.

Palestine then turned to the international community, first to the UN, then to the ICC.  Palestinian leaders potentially acted contrary to their own best interests, as explained by Kevin Jon Heller, ICC expert and University of London law professor[xxviii]:

Palestine has submitted a declaration granting the court retroactive jurisdiction to June 13, 2014, which includes the Gaza invasion that summer. So any crimes that took place within that period, including those in the Gaza war, could potentially be referred to the court as part of a situation for investigation.

But it’s important to understand that if Palestine makes that kind of referral, it wouldn’t be taken as an invitation to just investigate possible Israeli crimes: any investigation would certainly look at possible Palestinian crimes as well. The Office of the Prosecutor could investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Hamas or other Palestinian groups, as well as those allegedly committed by Israel.

More broadly, the court has shown reluctance to get involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict in the past.


[I]t would be far simpler to prosecute Hamas’s leaders than Israel’s, so it is quite likely that Palestinians and not Israelis would be the first ones to face trial[87].

The Israel-Pakistan conflict has polarized the international community[88].  Imposition of economic sanctions or any adverse action by the international community is equivalent to withholding humanitarian assistance, not for Hamas, but for the people of Palestinian. As the intention of this post was to address ISIS, this issue is the subject of a subsequent post.

          B.  Turkey

Enter Turkey.

“At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 200,000 Jews in Turkish lands – when the entire population was barely 10 million. Today, the Turkish population has reached 77 million – and there are fewer than 17,000 Jews[89][xxix].”

“[S]ecularization of Turkey started in the society during the last years of Ottoman Empire “the caliphate—the supreme politico-religious office of Islam, and symbol of the sultan’s claim to world leadership of all Muslims—was abolished[90].”

Having rejected both a Calphifate and Sharia law, Turkey became a secular state, constitutionally protecting religious freedom and criminalizing hate crimes.  Over the years, these laws have not been enforced[91].

And historical Ottoman prejudices crossed international borders. “[T]here is Israel… As long as the psychology of the Israel issue continues to influence politics in Turkey and relations between the two countries do not normalize….,” stated Turkish-Armenian author, Etyen Mahcupyan.  The line Mahcupyan shyly did not finish probably would have gone on like this: “Turkey’s Jews will keep on paying the price[92].”

Turkey supported ISIS. The Turkish-ISIS relationship was described by a recent ISIS escapee who had been forced to work as an ISIS communications expert:

ISIS and Turkey cooperate together on the ground on the basis that they have a common enemy to destroy, the Kurds…ISIS saw the Turkish army as its ally especially when it came to attacking the Kurds in Syria. The Kurds were the common enemy for both ISIS and Turkey. Also, ISIS had to be a Turkish ally because only through Turkey they were able to deploy ISIS fighters to northern parts of the Kurdish cities and towns in Syria[93].

Polat Can, a Kurdish[xxx] People’s Protection Units spokesman, elaborated, “[T]he Turkish army gives ISIS terrorists weapons, ammunitions and allows them to cross the Turkish official border crossings in order for ISIS terrorists to initiate inhumane attacks against the Kurdish people in Rojava [north-eastern Syria][94].”

Meanwhile, in late October, newly-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan[xxxi] stated it was his “grand design to recreate the Ottoman caliphate with the help of the Sunni jihadist army ISIS.[95]

“Erdogan used the image of the caliphate and traditional Islamic values to gain popularity in the Middle East, expecting to gain it all over the world,” observed Ali Vyacheslav Polosin, Deputy Director of the Fund for Support of Islamic Culture, Science and Education[96].  Mr. Polosin further explained:

After Erdogan became president he started positioning himself in image ads not only as the president of the Turkish Republic, but as a reader of the Quran, as though he radiates some nur, light. It is more an image of a caliph, a ruler of true believers, than the president of a republic, especially considering that Turkey has very great experience in this aspect. So the claims are not that groundless[97].

In December, President Erdogan stated Turkey was backing Hamas and terminated its diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Erdogan’s “dealings with the ISIS are unacceptable. I could not believe that Turkey harbors an ISIS militant camp in Istanbul.  Turkey has also allowed weapons to be transported into Syria through its borders. Also that the ISIS has been able to sell its oil via Turkey is extraordinary,” stated Claudia Roth, Germany’s Deputy Speaker[98].

This precipitated a December 10, 2014 visit by the EU hoping to convince to fight against, not align with ISIS[99].

“President Erdogan’s government is “pursuing a “murky” policy in Syria”, and NATO must force Turkey, a NATO member to cease its support of ISIS and shift its policy toward the Kurdistan Workers’ Party,”stated German Deputy Speaker Roth[100].

Iraqi Prime Haider al-Abadi made a similar request during a December 25, 2014 visit to Turkey, having called the Islamic State “a threat to the whole region[101].” The talks were reported positive as to cooperative joint counterterrorism efforts against ISIS.

By early January, the ISIS-Turkey relationship appeared strained[102].  Nonetheless, “…ISIS has garnered significant domestic support, as proven by reports of jihadi cells and hospitals operating in Turkey, clashes at Istanbul University between Turkish supporters and opponents of ISIS, and the thousands of Turkish foreign fighters in Syria[103].”

Following an announcement that the West intends to investigate Turkish terrorist support including having providing safe passage to Syria, President Erdogan promptly denied all accusations and has been reported to be destroying evidence of any involvement by either himself or other Turkish leaders[104].  This announcement came on the heels of the UN stating Palestine would be granted ICC member nation status to investigate the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Even though over 13,000 EU companies, backed by foreign investment, operate in Turkey[105], it was been denied EU member state status after formally seeking membership in 2005. “European countries such as France and Germany kept raising barriers to EU entry — insisting that Turkey was too big, too poor and, above all, too Muslim to qualify[106].”

President Erdogan has been accused of manipulating Turkey into a ‘parallel state’:

“Parallel state”, “deep state”, and “parallel structure” are terms all too familiar to the Turkish public. This dual state structure was developed after the 1960 coup and further strengthened by the 1982 constitution. The division is composed of two components: The first is the elected, accountable, visible and civilian government; while the second, an unelected, unaccountable and invisible structure embedded in high bureaucracy with affiliates in media and big business[107].

President Erdogan may find regional success. “In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, other countries, the persona of Erdogan is popular among Muslims and even ruling elites. That is why Turkey has its own game here[108].”   But, like all other countries, regional support neither creates the global relationships needed to sustain peace nor the international commerce and financial support needed to sustain its diverse and divided people.

          C.  Israel

Amid mounting humanitarian crises[xxxii], on-going terrorist attacks in Syria are minimally attributable to at least five groups[109]:

  • ISIS;
  • Non-Sunni Muslim extremists;
  • The al-Nursa Front led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, involved in the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack and Osama bin Laden’ successor[110];
  • Sunni Muslims, constituting the majority of the its population, who oppose existing government; and
  • The Syrian government.[111]


ISIS is and has been playing a lead role[112]. Adept at management, it has drawn in and supported groups not sharing its ideology recognizing “a mutual benefit in crushing any opposition[113]” thereby increasing its regional power.

The Syrian population is disenfranchised and unempowered having been deprived of a deprived of a stable government with access to the financial resources essential to protecting against abuses and to provide even the most fundamental of needs. Preying on the Syrian people’s vulnerability, ISIS has made illusory promises of providing the just government incumbent upon a Caliphate, including developing an infrastructure. This has generated support from even those not sharing its ideology[114].

“Capitalising on the chaos in the region, Islamic State (IS) – the extremist group that grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq – has taken control of huge swathes of territory across Iraq and Syria. Its many foreign fighters in Syria are now involved in a “war within a war…[115].”

ISIS is so entrenched in Syria that now has a second capital located in the city of Raqqa[116], previously one of Syria’s most liberal areas.   “This is but one act “reflecting its greater regional ambitions…,” stated the U.S. State Department[117].

Existing conditions in Raqqa reflect ISIS and Abu Bakr’s intentions.

“It’s an environment of warring Islamic factions – Sunni v Shiite. It’s also a battlefield of Islam versus Christianity, religion versus secularism and rich versus poor[118].”

Sharia law is enforced by ISIS as to all of Raqqa’s remaining residents; those not fortunate enough to have fled only to become stateless refugees. A recent news releases, described how ISIS treats Raqqa’s Christians[119].  “In the list of seven rules that Christians must obey, the terror group also warns that there should never be any ‘treachery’ against ISIS, nor any mockery directed towards Muslims or Islam[120].

A Raqqa native gave a first-hand account. “[M]ilitants use armed patrols to guarantee the obedience of the city’s around 300,000 civilians” with its dominance expressed by the “”severed heads on fences, and people who are crucified”, concluding “Their principle is that you are either with them or against them[121].”

“[T]rading standards officers check shops for out-of-date products. Law (albeit ISIS’s own strict interpretation of sharia) is enforced firmly[122].”  While there, performance quotas to fund their ‘Spoils Division’ by extorting harsh taxes from businesses and individuals.  “Non-believers must either pay a special tax, leave, convert, or face death. The last two options were preferred. The city’s ancient Christian community was the first to be targeted, and thousands fled[123].”

ISIS accompanied Todenhöfer to Raqqa under controlled and heavily supervised conditions, insuring that he saw only what ISIS wanted him to see.  He said that, “The ISIS “caliphate” appeared to be working as a state, with the terrorists displaying well-established arrangements for security, and care for the poor – arrangements that have been accepted by many of the communities the group now controls[124].”

The reality is that decentralized management has proven a deficit as ISIS has been unable to monitor its local officials.  For instance, on January 6th, a senior ISIS police commander “….was tortured and executed in Syria, and was left decapitated with a cigarette in his mouth. It remains unclear whether he had been targeted by the Islamic State group for something the extremists have banned, such as smoking, or if his death was retribution by locals tired of living under the group’s oppressive rule[125].”

As one observer stated, “…the transition has been professional and efficient, albeit with the brutal ­executions of opponents and innocents[126].

V.    Conclusion

“You can go after a specific organization…But if it’s more than an organization, if it’s something larger than that, a movement, what can you possibly do to stop it? I don’t know. That’s the real power of IS… How do you fight an idea?” opined  former CIA officer Michael Shurkin, now with the Rand Corporation[127].

Air strikes are not the solution[128].  Based on its decentralized management, efforts to eliminate ISIS leaders, at any level, have not and will not be effective[129].

Even more importantly, the people hit, directly or indirectly, by air strikes or other military maneuvers are largely innocent, whether civilians, child soldiers or human shields. Those are the same people affected when economic sanctions are imposed.

The solution was simply stated by ISIS expert Reza Aslan:

It involves addressing the grievances of Syrians, The real lack of action by the international community; stop the slaughter in that country. Those things have to be addressed so that ISIS doesn’t matter anymore[130].

As was reflected back to Mr. Aslan by NPR’s reporter, “ISIS is still able to exploit these grievances that are held by many Muslims in these regions says Reza Aslan and he says addressing these grievances has to be one key element in the fight against the Islamic State.  He says that addressing the disempowerment, the disenfranchisement that Sunni and Iraqis feel as a result of the Shiite takeover of that government[131].”

Mr. Simpson concurred, stating, “The challenge for the group now is serving the needs of the estimated 6 million people it rules. These are the moments…when a decentralized management structure can be most seriously challenged and when those who want to weaken it can find their opportunity[132].

The very same global forecast and solution was voiced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

[T]he horizon of hope is darkened. Our hearts are made heavy by unspeakable acts and the deaths of innocents.  Not since the end of the Second World War have there been so many refugees, displaced people and asylum seekers. Never before has the United Nations been asked to reach so many people with emergency food assistance and other life-saving supplies.

It may seem as if the world is falling apart, as crises pile up and disease spreads. But leadership is precisely about finding the seeds of hope and nurturing them into something bigger. That is our duty. That is my call to you today[133].[134]

As Joel Meeker stated, “It seems the world is falling apart before our eyes. But examining world trends—and how they may affect us—in the light of prophecy reveals a glimmer of hope[135].”

That is the subject of the next chapter.

About the Author


Cynthia M. Lardner holds a journalism degree, she is a licensed attorney and trained as a clinical therapist.  While she is well-published, it was only a year ago that Ms. Lardner started a career in social media.  Her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking understanding that everything and everyone is subject to change given the right circumstances.

Ms. Lardner has accounts on Twitter. Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn, as well as accounts under the pseudonym of Deveroux Cleary.

She is also the Mother of four beautiful children, Emily, Nicole, Patrick and Madelyn, to whom this book is dedicated.

[1] Best, Supra FN 5.

[2] CNN Library, December 17, 2014, CNN, as found on the www at (The name ISIS was announced as early as October 2006).

[3] “Global Terrorism Index Report”, November 16, 2014, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision for Humanity, as found on the www at See (The University of Pennsylvania’s “2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index” lists the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in three categories, amongst the leading think tanks worldwide. The ranking is the result of an international survey of almost 2,000 scholars, donors, policy makers, and members of the media, who help rank more than 6,500 think tanks.).

[4] Simpson, Supra FN 6.

[5] Best, J., “German reporter Jurgen Todenhofer spent 10 days inside Islamic State controlled territory in Northern Iraq – the first Western journalist to gain access to the terrifying regime which beheaded Brits David Haines and Alan Henning,”  December 23, 2014, Mirror, as found on the www at (In Syria and Iraq alone, as of 2007, ISIS already controlled 18 semi­autonomous provincial divisions).

[6] Simpson, C., with Hamid, N., “The Banality of Islamic State:  How ISIS Corporatized Terror”, November 20, 2014, Bloomberg Business Week, as found on the www at (This was the first article examining both the data and its implications, authored by Cam Simpson, ISIS expert and Bloomberg Business reporter.).  See also “ISIS And The Corporatization Of Terrorism”, November 29, 2014, NPR, as found on the www at (Mr. Simpson summarized his article in an NPR audio interview.).

[7] Nathan, J., “ISIS’ vast resources remodel Middle East”, January 10, 2015, Montgomery Advisor, as found on the www at; and Moussa, A., “The Islamic State and the Jewish State”, October 17, 2014, Counterpunch, as found on the www at (Ahmad Moussa, a Palestinian-Canadian writer, is a Visiting Professor at the University of Duhok in the Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.).

[8] “Terrorist Designations of Groups Operating in Syria”, United States Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, May 14, 2014, as found on the www at  See Endnote 7 for more information.

[9] McEvers, K., ‘To Fight ISIS, You Have To Understand Its Ideology”, December 11, 2014, NPR, as found on the www at

[10] Blanton, D., “Fox News Poll: 81 percent expect ISIS attack on US”, November 11, 2011, Fox News, as found on the www at (After ISIS, American voters ranked the economy as the second most important issue our leadership needs to address.).

[11] “The Global Religious Landscape”, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Pew Research Center, December 18, 2012  (The current breakdown is Christianity 31.5%; Islam 23.2%; Unaffiliated 16.3%; Hinduism15.0%; Buddhism 7.1%; Folk religions 5.9%; Other 0.8%; and Judaism 0.2%).  See also Sansal., B, “Islam in Turkey”, All About Turkey, as found on the www at (“Estimates of the world population of Muslims range from a low of 750 million to a high of 1.2 billion; 950 million is a widely used medium. Notwithstanding the significant variations in these estimates, many observers agree that the world population of Muslims is increasing by approximately 25 million per year. Thus, a 250-million increase is anticipated for the decade 2000-2100…In the United States and Canada population of Muslims estimates as 9,000,000 peoples.”).

[12] Jesus’ birth, life and work is reflected in Islam’s Quran, Christianity’s Bible, and Judaism’s Torah. Injil, the Islamic account of Jesus, refers to Him as “Isa”, a revered human prophet.  Like all prophets, Jesus worked to unite all of Israel’s children to worship one God.

[13] Din translates to religion, for which the Latin root is Religare, meaning to bind forth and bring together.

[14] Sansal, Infra FN 11 (It was believed those who did not convert were conspiring with Muhammad’s enemies.).

[15] Id.

[16] Crooke, A., “You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia,” August 27, 2014, The Huffington Post, as found on the www at

[17] “What’s the appeal of a caliphate?”, October 24, 2014, BBC News Magazine, as found on the www at

[18] Cordal, S., “How ISIS Governs Its Caliphate:, December 2, 2014, Newsweek, as found on the www at

[19] Kavkaza, V., “How Erdogan uses idea of caliphate,” December 9, 2014, Vestnik, as found on the www at;politics/63155.html.

[20] Wood, G., “What ISIS’s Leader Really Wants”, September 1, 2014, The New Republic, as found on the www at (“ISIS’s meticulous use of language, and its almost pedantic adherence to its own interpretation of Islamic law, have made it a strange enemy, fierce and unyielding but also scholarly and predictable”).

[21] Kavkaza, Infra FN 19.

[22] Simpson, Infra FN 6 (Ownership was attributed to an ISIS operative assigned a position akin to a divisional auditor.).

[23] Simpson, Infra FN 6 (As of 2007 ISIS was already managing 18 semi­autonomous provincial divisions in both Iraq and Syria.).

[24] Simpson, Infra FN 6; Nathan, Infra FN 7.

[25] Bilger, Alex, “ISIS Annual Reports reveal a metrics-driven military command,” The Institute for the Study of War, May 22, 2014, as found on the www at

[26] Nathan, Infra FN 7.

[27] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[28] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[29] Nathan, Infra FN 7

[30] Simpson, Infra FN 8.

[31] Bilger, Infra FN 25.

[32] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[33] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[34] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[35] Kumar, K., “ISIS Talks About Big Money: $250 Million Surplus In 2015 Will Be Used In The War Against The West,” January 6, 2015, International Business Times, as found on the www at  See also Nathan, Infra FN 7

[36] Id. (pursuant to a Newsweek investigation into ISIS’s income and fundraising)

[37] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[38] CNN Library, Infra FN 3.

[39] Simpson, Infra FN 8.

[40]  Nathan, Infra FN 6.

[41]  “ISIS: Trail Of Terror”, December 23, 2014, ABC News, as found on the www at

[42]  Best, Infra FN 5.

[43] Laub, Z., “Hamas”, Council on Foreign Relations, August 1, 2014, as found on the www at (ISIS is comprised of Arab and Muslim fighters from all over the world, especially Europe who are tired of being marginalized and subjected to the racism and new Anti-Semitism in those countries and are trying to establish a State for the Arabs and Muslims worldwide via expansionism, colonization and oppression as the solution in the land of Iraq and the Levant, the same way Jews decided on the establishment of a State as a safe haven in the land of Palestine.).

[44]  Mazel, Z., “Dream or nightmare: The caliphate in the eyes of Islam”, December 24, 2014, The Jerusalem Post, as found on the www at

[45]  Kumar, Infra FN 35.

[46]  Fazal, F., “FERGUSON. ISIS tries to influence criminals in Ferguson”, KSDK, December 23, 2014, as found on the www at

[47]  Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[48]  Id.

[49]  Dicker, R., “ISIS Reportedly Releases Guide On How To Treat Sex Slaves,” December 14, 2014, The Huffington Post.

[50] Best, Infra FN 5; “Why Aren’t World Leaders Angrier About Violence Against Women?” NPR, December 9, 2014, as found at

[51]  Cordal, Infra FN 18 (“ISIS, has expanded from a relatively obscure terrorist group at the start of the year, to one that wields near absolute control over anywhere between 12,000 square miles (according to the Wall Street Journal) and 35,000 square miles (according to The New Yorker) of formerly Syrian and Iraqi territory”).  See also “Nigeria: ‘Islamic State is Paying Attention to Africa”, December 13, 2014, AFP Wall Africa.

[52]  CNN Library, Infra FN 2.

[53] ISIS Trail OF Terror, Infra FN 41.

[54] Moussa. Infra FN 7.  See also “Terrorist Designations of Groups Operating in Syria”, United States Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, May 14, 2014, as found on the www at (ISIL was added as an ISIS alias by The Department of State.); and Laub, Infra FN 43.

[55] Moussa. Infra FN 7.

[56] Best, Infra FN 5.

[57] “1967: Reunify of Jerusalem”, CAMERA, as found on the www at, citing The Catholic University of America Law Review, Spring 1996.

[58] Id.; Moussa. Infra FN 7 (“The State of Israel was an idea created as a result of centuries of European anti-Semitism against Jews, motivated by a historical nostalgia of the ‘promised land’ and/or religious justification for a sense of a godly establishment or entity.”).

[59] Id.

[60] “THE STATE: Political Structure”, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as found on the www at

[61] See gen

[62] Klein, M., “Focus on Hamas: The PLO’s Friend or Foe?”, Middle East Quarterly

June 1996, pp. 11-18, as found on the www at

[63] Id.

[64] “Political system (Palestinian)”, January 18, 2009, Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, as found on the www at (“The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was officially recognized by the Arab League in 1974 as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” in 1991.”).

[65] “Arafat Offers Cabinet Posts to Hamas”, March 6, 2002, Islam Web, as found on the www at

[66] Laub, Z., Infra FN 43 (In the June 2009 ‘Bar-Ilan’ speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated,  “[A]emand for resettling Palestinian refugees within Israel undermines Israel’s continued existence as the state of the Jewish people”.).

[67] Moussa. Infra FN 7.

[68] “Gaza under siege: naming the dead”, August 13, 2014, Al Jazeera, as found on the www at  (“an estimated that 1,951 people died and 10,193 have been injured since Israel launched its offensive on Gaza on July 8”).

[69] Moussa. Infra FN 7.

[70] Keinon, H., “Prime Minister Netanyahu condemns UN for not responding to PA official who said he is “excited” by Iranian directives to send weapons to West Bank”, December 30, 2014, The Jerusalem Post, as found on the www at

[71] “Israel’s annihilation has begun, says PLO envoy to Tehran Ambassador from Abbas’s PA blames US, western countries for having created ‘a fake regime in Palestine’”, December 30, 2014, Times of Israel, as found on the www at (Directly thereafter, a Twitter account linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards stated its soldiers in Lebanon “are at the border of occupied Palestine.).

[72] “U.N. okays Palestine joining ICC, U.S. objects”, January 7, 2015, Al Arabiya News, as found on the www at

[73] “UN security council rejects Palestinian statehood bid”, December 30, 2014, The Guardian, as found on the www at (“Defeated resolution called for end to Israeli occupation within three years and for independent state of Palestine to be established within 1967 borders… and set a 31 December, 2017 deadline for Israel’s occupation to end”.).

[74] “Palestinian Envoy Submits Documents to United Nations to Join the International Criminal Court”, January 2, 2015, ABC News, as found on the www at

[75] Taub, A., “Palestine just joined the International Criminal Court. Here’s what that means,” January 6, 2015, VOX, as found on the www at

[76] Id.

[77] Deitch, I., “Israel Withholds Palestinian Tax Revenues After ICC Move”, January 3, 2015, ABC News, as found on the www at

[78] Ravid, B., “Rivlin blasts Netanyahu: Freezing Palestinian tax revenues harms Israel’s interests”, January 5, 2015, Haaretz, as found on the www at  See also Israel Ex-Minister: Settlement Funding Is Corrupt, January 1, 2015, ABC News, as found on the www at

[79] Cashman, G., “President Rivlin: Time to admit that Israel is a sick society that needs treatment”, October 19, 2014, The Jerusalem Post, as found on the www at

[80]  United States Department Statement, Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, January 7, 2015, as found on the www at  See also (video coverage); Ravid, Infra FN 78.

[81] Keinon, H, Infra FN 70.

[82] Id.

[83] Id.

[84] Id.

[85] Id.; Al Arabiya News, Infra FN 72.

[86]“Israeli-Palestinian conflict heads into uncharted territory as mistrust deepens, UN official warns”, UN News Centre, January 15, 2015, as found on the www at

[87] Taub, Infra FN 75.  See also Deitch, Infra FN 77(“It’s a risky strategy for the Palestinians because it means they themselves could be accused of war crimes”).

[88] “For decades United States’ spokespeople, from presidents to members of Congress, have, with a straight face, told the most far-fetched lies about Israel and Palestine. Such things as Israel having a moral army, despite its ongoing genocide of men, women and children, or proclaiming it the only democracy in the Middle East, regardless of the institutional racism so prevalent there, have been staples of U.S. proclamations and news conferences. But as is true of many of the fairy tales spun by U.S. public relations forces, these have hardly been believed outside of U.S. borders. And increasingly, they are being met with skepticism even there.”  Fantina, R., “The Last Guest at the Table of Justice: Three U.S. Lies About Israel and Palestine”, January 9, 2015, Counterpunch, as found on the www at

[89]  Bekdel, B., “Heading for a Jew-Free Turkey”, December 23 2014, Middle East Forum, as found on the www at  (Mahcupyan, has published more than 15 books and has written regular columns in Turkey’s leading liberal newspapers.).

[90]  Konda, Research and Consultancy (2007-09-08), “Religion, Secularism and the Veil in daily life” (PDF). Milliyet, as found on the www at

[91]  Gardner, D., “Turkey: slipping into the vortex?” January 9, 2015, FT Magazine, as found on the www at (“Erdogan finally secured the opening of EU membership talks in 2005. His government was prodigal in packages of constitutional and regulatory reform….Turkey that year had more cases (159) taken to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg than Vladimir Putin’s Russia (121). At the time it had 104 journalists in jail, 69 of them from the Kurdish minority, but more than Iran (42) and China (27) combined.”).

[92] Bekdel, Infra FN 89.

[93] Guiton, B., ‘ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally’: Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation, November 7, 2014, Newsweek, as found on the www at

[94] Id.

[95] Maloof, F., “Turkish President Gathers Power to Fulfill Islamic ‘Caliphate’ Vision: Angling for constitutional change to maintain authority,” October 29, 2014, Wind, as found on the www at

[96] Kavkaza, Infra FN 19.

[97] Id.

[98]  Id.; “German deputy speaker: NATO must stop Turkey support for ISIS”, December 10, 2014, Rudaw, as found on the www at

[99]  Id. The EU contingency was comprised of EU Chief Diplomat, Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy, Johannes Hahn, and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

[100] Rudaw, Infra FN 98.

[101] “Iraq, Turkey talk military cooperation in battling ISIS,” December 26, 2014, The New York Daily News, as found on the www at

[102] “One Turkish soldier kidnapped in Syria, sources confirm,” January 3 2015, The Turkish Weekly, as found on the www at  (A Turkish officer was kidnapped while crossing into to Syria. “The security forces have focused on the Islamiz State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militarts and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has been fighting against the ISIL jihadists in Syria, as possible actors.”); “Turkish soldier kidnapped by jihadists in Syria freed”, January 5, 2015, The Global Post, as found on the www at (kidnapping confirmed an ISIS operation following successful rescue operation by Turkish intelligence and armed forces).

[103] Williams, L, “ISIS has polarized Turkey domestically”, January 5, 2015, The Daily Star Lebanon, as found on the www at

[104]  “Report: Erdogan Trying to Hide Evidence of Supporting ISIS“, January 6, 2015, The Tower, as found on the www at

[105]  January 6, 2015, Bloomberg, as found on the www at (Turkey one of the EU’s “biggest geopolitical risks in 2015”).

[106] Gardner, Infra FN 91.

[107] Dalay, G., “Turkey’s parallel state strikes back”, January 6, 2015, Al Jazeera, as found on the www at

[108] Kavkaza, V., Infra FN 19.

[109]  “Syria: The story of  the conflict”, December 8, 2014, BBC News, as found on the www at; Ellis, R., “U.N. panel details ISIS abuses in Syria, says they amount to war crimes”, November 14, 2014, CNN, as found on the www at (In March 2011, the UN found the Sunni Muslims and Syrian government responsible for the commission of war crimes.).

[110]   Id.

[111] Syria’s civil war is the outcome of a complex interplay of Islamic faction fighting and Iranian influence, September 4, 2013,, as found on the www at; Vinograd, C. and Omar, A., “Syria, ISIS Have Been ‘Ignoring’ Each Other on Battlefield, Data Suggests”, December 11, 2014, NBC News, as found on the www at

[112] ISIS’ activity is reflected by its atypical targets accounting for approximately 64% of the verifiable 2014 Syrian attacks, evidencing its corroboration with Syrian Sunni forces.

[113] Vinograd, Infra FN 111.

[114] Fordham, A., “Syrians In Raqqa Believe Assad Regime Benefits From War On ISIS”, December 5, 2014, NPR, as found on the www at

[115] BBC News, Infra FN 119.

[116] Vinograd, Infra FN 111.

[117] “ISIS: Trail Of Terror”, December 23, 2014, ABC News, as found on the www at

[118] September 4, 2013,, as found on the www at

[119]  Ellis, R., “U.N. panel details ISIS abuses in Syria, says they amount to war crimes,” November 14, 2014, CNN, as found on the www at (Earlier this month, the UN released its report, “Rule of Terror: Living Under ISIS in Syria“.)  The humanitarian crises are incomprehensible. Almost 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict.  Those surviving have not fared much better.  A further 6.5 million people, 50% of them children, are believed to be internally displaced within Syria, bringing the total number forced to flee their homes to more than 9.5 million – half the country’s population. An estimated 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, with 4.6 million living in areas under siege or hard to access.

[120] Cockroft, S., “How to live as a Christian in Raqqa: ISIS release seven rules for followers of rival faith, including praying out of earshot of Muslims and never mocking Islam”, December 23 2014, The Daily Mail, as found on the www at

[121] Balkiz, G., and Smith, A., ”What Life Is Like Inside ISIS’ Capital City of Raqqa, Syria”, September 25, 2014, NBC News, as found on the www at

[122] Cordal, Infra FN 18.

[123] Ghosh, B., “A short political history of the terrorists who call themselves the “Islamic State”, August 13, 2014, Quartz, as found on the www at

[124] Best, Infra FN 5.

[125] Shinkman, P., “War Against ISIS: 2015 Off to a Troubling Start”, January 6, 2015, US News and World Report, as found on the www at

[126] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[127]“Nigeria: ‘Islamic State is Paying Attention to Africa,” December 13, 2014, Vanguard, as found on the www at

[128] “Middle East Updates / Jordan confirms ISIS captures one of its pilots after downing warplane”, December 24, 2014, Haaretz, as found on the www at (“Coalition plane downed in ISIS-controlled territory in Raqqa for first time; Suicide bomber kills at least 17 people south of Baghdad, Iraq; Australian FM hopeful Egypt will release Al Jazeera journalist.”).

[129] There were unconfirmed reports that Tehreek-e-Taliban chief Mulla Fazalullah was killed in an air strike inside Afghanistan early Saturday. The news comes on the wake of the Pakistani army intensifying anti-terrorism operations in following an December 16, 2014 Taliban attack on a school killing 148 students and teachers.  ‘Pakistani Taliban chief killed?”, December 20, 2014, Times of India.

[130] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[131] Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer, scholar of religious studies and a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. He is a member of American Academy of Religion.  See

[132] Simpson, Infra FN 6.

[133] Meeker, Joel, “The State of the World 2015,” Life, Hope and Truth, January-February 2015, as found on the www at, citing Sept. 24, 2014, (Opening remarks on September 14, 2014 to the General Assembly comprised of leaders from 193 nations).

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations. Prior to his 2007 appointment, Mr. Ban was a diplomat with South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he represented its interests in the UN.   Mr. Ban succeeded Nobel Laureate Kofi Annan, current Chairperson of The Elders.  See Infra FN 134.

[134] For more information, please visit, The Elders on Facebook or Google Plus, or on Twitter at @TheElders.

[135] Id.  Author Joel Meeker has been a frequent author for The Church of God with congregations in more than 50 countries.

[i] Ghosh, B., Infra FN 123 (ISIS, in its present day form, is attributable to the late JordanianAbu Musab al-Zarqawi, who many believed to be but a “fringe figure in the international violent “jihad””.  Zarqawi was confirmed as having been in what was then still the Soviet Union.  While there is no accounting of his time there, the Soviet Union was well-known in the intelligence communities for training terrorists from other countries.  What is known is that after leaving the Soviet Union, Zarqawi established terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and that, in 1999, he met with Osama bin Laden.  Zarqawi died in 2006.

[ii] Jürgen Todenhöfer, 74, is a German author, attorney, and former member of the German parliament and executive.  He has spent time in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.  Todenhöfer is known for his open communicated to the International Criminal Court in reference to prosecution of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir.  His criticism of U.S. led wars against both Afghanistan and Iraq ultimately led to his book, Why do you kill, Zaid? He is the only reporter to ever allowed inside ISIS who was has also left alive.

[iii]  Mr. Moussa cited the following sources:;;;;;;;; and

[iv] “The Department of State announced the amendment of the designation of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 to add the alias Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as its primary name and remove all aliases associated with al-Nusrah Front (ANF). Additionally, the Department of State announced the designation of ANF as an FTO under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under section 1(b) of E.O. 13224.

The Department will also add the following aliases to the ISIL listing: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-‘Iraq wa-sh-Sham, Daesh, Dawla al Islamiya, and Al-Furqan Establishment for Media Production. Furthermore, under the same authorities, the Department of State designated al-Nusrah Front as a standalone FTO and SDGT.”  State Department, Infra FN 8.

[v] Levant descendants belong to many different religions.  Levant Muslims are globally dispersed, with the largest populations found in Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.

[vi] “The Arabic khalifa means a representative or successor, and in the Koran it is linked to the idea of just government – Adam, and then David and Solomon, are each said to be God’s khalifa on earth. And when the Prophet Mohammed died in 632 the title was bestowed on his successor as the leader of the Muslim community, the first of the Rashidun, the four so-called “Rightly Guided Caliphs” who ruled for the first three decades of the new Islamic era…The only working model was an individual leader, but that leader had the authority of God behind him. No-one seems to have thought very much about the succession to Muhammad before his death. No-one regarded Muhammad as divine or immortal, but no-one really considered what would happen after his death. The solution was cobbled together by the most powerful followers of Muhammad. There was disagreement—in fact, violent disagreement—between the Meccan followers of Muhammad who had emigrated with him in 622 (the Muhajirun, or “Emigrants”) and the Medinans who had become followers (the Ansar, or “Helpers”). In the end, however, Muhammad’s father-in-law, Abu Bakr, was named the khalifa or “Successor” of Muhammad. A new religion and a new circumstance had formed a new, untried political formation: the caliphate.”   “What’s the appeal of a caliphate?,” October 24, 2014, BBC News Magazine, as found on the www at

[vii]  Abu Bakr’s self-proclaimed declaration as the Caliphate created a schism with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.  al-Zawahiri’s was involved in the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack.  He was later named Osama bin Laden’ successor and presently leads an al Qaeda core group, the al-Nursa Front, active in Syria.

In February 2014 they disagreed over ISIS’ role in Syria:

A letter obtained by the Long War Journal reportedly showed al Qaeda’s senior leadership was so fed up with [Abu-Bakr] al-Baghdadi that it severed all connection with ISIS. By declaring himself the “caliph” of the Islamic State in June, al-Baghdadi appears to have challenged al-Zawahiri[vii] directly for the allegiance of all Muslim extremists.  “ISIS: Trail Of Terror,” ABC News, December 23, 2014, as found on the www at

Abu Bakr’s ISIS leadership has also polarized Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite.  “Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.” Crooke, Infra FN 16.

ISIS refuses to conform to Wahhabism, posing a potential threat to Saudi Arabia, who’s fractured elite have been unable to adopt a moderate approach as to not only ISIS but, also as to its regional role.

[viii] “The growth of the firm and its evolution from a national firm to a multi-national corporation (MNC) includes a progressive vertical integration of down-stream and up-stream operations within individual product value-chains, as well as managed diversification of the initial product/ service line. Part of this evolution is the internal structuring of units and operations, and the positioning of these units vis-a-vis each other. The internal structuring includes operational and strategic integration of business functions that minimise costs and economise via internal coordination and control (Williamson, 1975), and as such achieve governance economies (Eisenmann and Bower, 2000).Among the leading archetypes of organisational structures that lead to the emergence of the M-form are: hierarchies (with a single line of command and control), functional organisations (with decentralised decision making), and matrix type of structures (with a dual line of coordination and control – both horizontal and vertical) (Todeva, 2006). The M-formrepresents a combination of a divisional structure with hierarchical control and functional flexibility.”  Todeva, E., “Multi-Divisional Forms”, ‎2007, University of Surrey, as found on the www at

[ix] The M-Model is attributed to Alfred Sloan.  Sloan was General Motors Corporation’s President during the 1920s credited with having saved the company by conceptualizing the  restructuring of its management model.  Based on the M-Model’s proven effectiveness, it is still favored today by corporations and economists.  According to Mr. Simpson:

Scholars credit his model for the company’s extraordinary growth in the early 20th century. It contrasted sharply with what had been the dominant “unitary form” of management, where control is centralized. In a pioneering study, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Harvard business professor Alfred Chandler Jr. held up the success of GM and others as a triumph of the M-form structure of corporate management, as did Oliver Williamson, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics in 2009.

[x] Terrorist messages have backdrops designed to create the impression that they are disorganized or even lacking in resources. Nothing could be farther from the truth.  ISIS Media Division rivals the best of public relations firms.  In an interesting counter-maneuver, this past week a statement by ‘activists and fighters’ was released stating that ISIS’ cohesion has been weakened by “flagging morale, desertion and factionalism’.  Consistent with M-Model corporate strategy, the same statement went on to state “focus shifts to governing the area.”  Solomon, E, “Isis morale falls as momentum slows and casualties mount,” December 20, 2014, Financial Times, as found on the www at

This contradicts an ISIS social media account post containing an unconfirmed 17 minute audio attributed to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi less than a month earlier that “U.S.-led coalition to destroy ISIS is “terrified, weak and powerless””. CNN Library, Infra FN 3.

[xi] The Institute for the Study of War advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.

[xii] Cooley applied Chandler’s and Williamson’s iconic studies of corporate management to military occupations and empires to the Rand Report results to reach his own conclusion as to its reliability and validity.

[xiii] An estimated 10 million girls under age 18 married every year and, of that number one in seven is married by age 15, with some brides mere children at ages 8 and 9. Child brides violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Protocol for the African Charter on Human, and the People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in African. See also “Why Aren’t World Leaders Angrier About Violence Against Women?”, NPR, December 9, 2014, as found on the www at

[xiv] Simpson, Infra FN 6. (Brett McGurk, President Obama’s deputy special envoy on the crisis in Syria and Iraq, told Congress in July that even before Islamic State seized the Iraqi city of Mosul, the it was “generating nearly $12 million per month in revenue through ­extortion and smuggling rackets” from Mosul residents. Now, it has control of the city; its banks, businesses, farming operations and factories.).

[xv] Nathan, Infra FN 7 (“By using third-party accounts, ISIS messages are all but impervious to firewalls. a decentralized network, hosting recruiting materials with production values commonly found in Madison Avenue produced-ads for soup or soap.”  It employs smart phone apps like Dawn of Glad Tidings, and uses a high-end firewall, Diaspora.).

[xvi] Attacks are broken down by subtype in ISIS’ annual reports:

  • Assassination
  • Armed attack5
  • Bombing (Mortars, Grenade launchers, and Rockets)
  • Bombing and burning houses (HBIEDs)
  • Prisoners freed
  • Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (SVBIEDs)
  • Suicide vests (SVESTs)
  • Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices
  • (VBIEDs)
  • Motorcycle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (MCBIEDs)
  • Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
  • Knife attacks
  • Targeted attacks
  • Sniping
  • Apostates repented
  • Cities taken over
  • Apostates run over
  • Checkpoints set up
  • Rafidha expelled

Bilger, Infra FN 31.

[xvii] In Nigeria, Boko Haram’s reign of terror has only reached epic proportions because of ISIS support.   “Outside observers see the Islamic State’s influence, for example, in the tactics, rhetoric and even online media presence of the Boko Haram rebels of northeast Nigeria and neighboring border areas.”

ISIS’ impact on Boko Haram reaches beyond weapons or logistics with Boko Haram modeling “…its ideological and military doctrine after the Islamic State and, in turn, has started to receive recognition from the Islamic State,” according to local expert Jacob Zenn, an African specialist at the Jamestown Foundation.  Infra Fn 137.

In December, Boko Haram controlled between 20,000 and 40,000 square kilometers, the equivalent of 7,700 to 15,400 square miles, encompassing 10 local governments. “Nigeria: ‘Islamic State is Paying Attention to Africa,” December 13, 2014, Vanguard, as found on the www at

In early January, Boko Haram returned to Chibok, the school girls’ village, as well as to 16 neighboring villages in northern Nigeria’s Borno State, where in the wake of its violence, 2,000 people remain unaccounted for and are feared dead, with entire villages burned to the ground.  Boko Haram now controls of 70% of Borno.  Tam, R, “Boko Haram burns 16 villages, leaving 2,000 feared dead”,  January 8, 2014, PBS News Hour, as found on the www at     

[xviii]  Scientific racism in happening in the Ukraine to Jews who are being profiled and discriminated and those speaking out on their behalf are being retaliated against by the Russian government.  For instance, Vadim Vishnevsky, a leader from the Jewish Ukraine people recently died of a gunshot wound to the head, with details released to the media being skewed at best:

Vishnevsky was among the initiators of a monument in memory of approximately 15,000 Jews whom the Nazis murdered at the Drobytsky Yar killing site near Kharkiv. He also sponsored renovation work at a historic Kharkiv synagogue, and social projects within the Jewish community and for the general population.

Flintoff, C., “Russian Pop Stars Pay A Price For Speaking Out On Ukraine”, NPR, December 10, 2014,

See also Madsen, W., ”Israel’s Secret Plan for a “Second Israel” in Ukraine”, as found on the www at (The role of Jewish figures and that of the State of Israel in the Ukrainian crisis has not gone unnoticed considering that this community represents less than 1 percent of the population. However, a secret report in the hands of the Netanyahu administration confirms that Ashkenazi Jews do not originate from the Levant, but are the descendants of the Khazars. This little-known population founded a Jewish empire in the tenth century on the banks of the Black Sea. Therefore, some Zionists see in Ukraine a possible second Israel”).

[xix]  As to Muslim’s not of Levant descent, the Chinese government is also engaging in scientific racism. has severely penalized scholarly advocates belonging to a minority Muslim population of Eurasian descent in a region bordering Russia.  It is no coincidence that ISIS members are Levant descendants.

In addition, this past fall Ilham Tohti was convicted of “separatism” for advocating on behalf of the Uyghur people who are of Eurasian descent having Turkish roots.  Mr. Tohti, 44, a member of the Uyghur PEN Center “…is an ethnically Uyghur economist, writer, and public intellectual, and is a professor at Minzu University of China in Beijing (formerly Central Nationalities University). He is one of the best-known scholars on Uyghur issues, and is a co-founder of the website Uyghur Online, which was designed to promote understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. It is now blocked inside China.”  Ilham Tohti, Pen America, as found on the www at

See also “China jails students of Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti”, December 9, 2014, BBC News China as found on the www at (The Chinese government has just recently imprisoned seven of Mr. Tohti’s students, all of Uighur descent.).

[xx]   Article 13 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights mandates, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”.  Israel’s violation of Article 13 was never addressed by the international community.  See Torossian, R., “Op-Ed: So Al Jazeera Claims Israel Commits Ethnic Cleansing”, December 14, 2014, Israel National News, as found on the www at (“Consider Al-Jazeera’s take on Ethnic Cleansing, and learn that “In the Palestinian context, ethnic cleansingis comprised of three stages. The first is to uproot people from their homes by force. The second stage is to erase their history and connection to the land. The third stage is to make sure they will never return to the land they once called home. The Zionist movement in historic Palestine used ethnic cleansing to target Palestinians in 1948-1950. Israel continues to commit ethnic cleansing against Palestinians today.”).  See gen“Ethnic Cleansing”, Seattle Mideast Awareness Project, as found on the www at;; and

[xxi]  During the 1970s, Benjamin Netanyahu served in the Israeli armed forces. He was personally involved in combat waged in Syria.  From 1984 to 1988,he was Israel’s United Nations Ambassador.  He is presently serving his third term as Israel’s Prime Minister.  In 2012, Netanyahu was listed 23rd on the Forbes magazine’s list of “The World’s Most Powerful People.

[xxii]   Laub, Infra FN 43.  (“Hamas, an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (“Islamic Resistance Movement”), was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric who became an activist in local branches of the Muslim Brotherhood after dedicating his early life to Islamic scholarship in Cairo. Beginning in the late 1960s, Yassin preached and performed charitable work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both of which were occupied by Israeli forces following the 1967 Six Day War.”  Hamas also has Egyptian roots and is linked to al-Zawahiri, who recently challenged ISIS’ Abu Bakr after the announcement that he was the Caliphate.)

[xxiii]  Bruno, G., Bajoria, J., and Masters, M., “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,” June 14, 2013, The Council of Foreign Relations, as found at www (“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was formed by late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini … in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution as an ideological custodian charged with defending the Islamic Republic against internal and external threats, but analysts say it has expanded far beyond its original mandate. Today, the IRGC presides over a vast power structure with influence over almost every aspect of Iranian life… Current forces consist of naval, air, and ground components, and total roughly 150,000 fighters, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service [PDF]. The corps’ primary role is internal security, but experts say the force can assist Iran’s regular army, which has about 350,000 soldiers…”).

[xxiv] The Rome Statute is shorthand for the “Negotiated Relationship Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations”.  “Negotiated Relationship Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations” as found on the www at As explained on the ICC’s webpage:

The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

The international community has long aspired to the creation of a permanent international court, and, in the 20th century, it reached consensus on definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

On 17 July 1998, the international community reached an historic milestone when 120 States adopted the Rome Statute, the legal basis for establishing the permanent International Criminal Court.

The ICC’s Mission Statement and the Rome Statute, in part, provide:

Article 68(1) of the Rome Statute provides that the Court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses. The ICC shall engage in out-reach and external relations extending beyond UN member states. “External relations refers to the constructive dialogue between the Court and States Parties, Non-States Parties, international organisations, NGOs and other key partners with the aim of building and maintaining support and co-operation facilitating the Court’s ability to fulfil its statutory mandate.”

“Pursuant to the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor can initiate an investigation on the basis of a referral from any State Party or from the United Nations Security Council. In addition, the Prosecutor can initiate investigations proprio motu on the basis of information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court received from individuals or organizations.”

[xxv] The Obama Administration was prepared to use its veto if Palestine’s United Nations proposal stood any chance of being passed.  This makes it hard to forget President Obama’s Holiday talk commemorating not only Christmas but, also Hanukkah and the Jewish people’s resilience over time.  See

[xxvi] “World reacts to the conflict in Gaza”, July 10, 2014, Al Jazeera, as found on the www at (Six months prior, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “[R]ocket attacks from Gaza were “unacceptable”, urging Israel to exercise maximum restraint, immediately followed by the remark that, “”I condemn the rising number of civilian lives lost in Gaza.” ).

[xxvii] This accounts for seemingly inconsistent U.S. State Department statements. Initially, it reported Hamas’ “…general policy is set by an overarching consultative body, often referred to as its politburo, which operates in exile. Local committees manage grassroots issues in Gaza and the West Bank.” Not long thereafter, it denied the existence of an ISIS/Hamas alliance for the reason that they have “different goals and tactics”.   Harris, E., “In Gaza, The Specter Of ISIS Proves Useful To Both Sides”, December 17, 2014, NPR, as found on the www at (“The U.S. State Department labels both terrorist organizations, but says…ISIS “uses rape as a tool of war, sells women and girls into sex slavery, offers those in its path a choice of conversion or death, and avowedly pursues genocide…We have not seen Hamas take these actions.”).

[xxviii] Kevin Jon Heller is currently Professor of Criminal Law at the University of London.  Amongst other distinctions he was Project Director for International Criminal Law at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law. Mr. Heller’s academic writing has appeared in a variety of journals, including the European Journal of International Law, the American Journal of International Law, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, the Harvard International Law Journal, the Michigan Law Review, the Leiden Journal of International Law, the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Criminal Law Forum, and the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review.

[xxix]  International Religious Freedom Report 2004, United States Department of State, BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR, as found on the www at (The total area in Turkey is 301,383 square miles, and its population is approximately 67.8 million. Approximately 99 percent of the population is officially Muslim, of whom 75% are Sunni.  There  are also 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 25,000 Jews, and less than 3,000 Greek Orthodox Christians, who under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty are granted special legal minority status.).

[xxx] “An ethnic and linguistic group of some 30 million divided between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds were among the great losers of the carve up of the Ottoman Empire following the First World War. While the United States’ 2003 Iraq invasion led to the emergence of Kurdish self-rule there, the other Kurdish populations have had mixed fortunes.

In Turkey, the Islamist-rooted government has initiated a peace process that has loosened restrictions on Kurdish cultural freedom, allowing limited Kurdish language education, and offering the prospect of greater autonomy for the country’s 15 million Kurds.

In Syria, home to some two million Kurds, they remained under strict oppression by the Assad government, with many denied basic citizenship.”

Christie-Miller, A., “Kurds Accuse Turkish Government of Supporting ISIS,” October 22, 2014, Newsweek, as found on the www at

[xxxi]  Gardner, Infra Fn 91.  “President Erdogan, a known admirer of Vladimir Putin, has had 10 straight victories at the polls since 2002: one by-election; three general elections; three local elections; two referendums on constitutional changes; and last summer’s apotheosis from premier to president. For more than a decade, he has been lord of all he surveys.”

[xxxii]  “Almost 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule. Syria’s bloody internal conflict has destroyed entire neighbourhoods and forced more than nine million people from their homes.

A further 6.5 million people, 50% of them children, are believed to be internally displaced within Syria, bringing the total number forced to flee their homes to more than 9.5 million – half the country’s population. An estimated 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, with 4.6 million living in areas under siege or hard to access.”

“Syria: The story of the conflict,” December 8, 2014, BBC News, as found on the www at

That was December.  It is now late January and wintertime in Syria.  The crisis there has escalated.  “The power infrastructure and agricultural sector are breaking down due to the strains of war and a lack of upkeep. Across Syria, the prices of fuel, food, and everyday goods are skyrocketing due to systemic failures in the power supply structure, war, and bombings. Millions of Syrians are left to face the winter cold in appalling conditions…”  Lund, Aaron, “Let Them Eat Bombs: The Cost of Ignoring Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 17, 2014, as found on the www at

“An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million have fled to Syria’s immediate neighbours Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile, under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots – 28,500 or 85% – are pledged by Germany.”  “Syrian Refugees:  A snapshot of the crisis – in the Middle East and Europe,” October 2014, Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute, as found on the www at

See also Calamur, K., “World Food Program Resumes Food Aid For Syrian Refugees,” NPR, December 9, 2014 as found on the www at way/2014/12/09/369593674/world-food-program-resumes-food-aid-for-syrian-refugees?sc=17&f=1004&utm_source=iosnewsapp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=app (The U.N.’s World Food Program is resuming food assistance to refugees from Syria in neighboring countries after suspending of food vouchers.  The program is only because of donations exceeding $64 million); and Syrian Humanitarian Relief, Islamic Relief USA, as found on the www at