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A New War Comes to the Middle East

September 14, 2014
Plain English Version

Who is Isis?


After the World Trade Center was destroyed, America went to war. The date was September 11, 2001. The terrorists came from Afghanistan. The Taliban trained them. In a short time the Taliban was defeated. At least for a while.

America then went to war with Iraq. We toppled the tyrant Saddam Hussein. But that war did not come to an end with his death. We learned that Iraq was a house divided. There are more Sunnis than Shiites in the world, but the biggest religious group in Iraq was the Shiites.

American troops left Iraq at the end of 2011. New troubles began. The country became divided. The government favored Shiites over Sunnis.

American forces will be leaving Afghanistan soon. Few people expect that country to remain peaceful.

Other Arab countries had their own uprisings. It was called the Arab Awakening. Yemen was first. Then Egypt. The goal was to bring democracy to the region. However it has not worked out that way.

The biggest reason was that there were groups in each country that had more radical ideas. The popular name for them is Al-Qaeda. They want to bring strict religious “Sharia” law to the region.  Sharia law sharply separates the roles of men and women. There is harsh punishment for those who break the rules.

After a strict Muslim group won the election in Egypt the military took over. In Syria, the people rose against the Assad dictatorship.

Iraq was divided. Syria was in a raging war. Terrorist groups saw an opportunity. They re-formed and gave themselves a new identity. Their new name is ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). President Obama calls them ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). The Levant is the region east of the Mediterranean Sea.

Their goal is a Caliphate. A Caliphate is an Islamic state led by a religious and political leader known as a caliph. The caliph is called the successor to Mohammed, the founder of Islam.

ISIL leaders say they will murder anyone who does not convert to their view. The Western world says they are the definition of evil.

They have become very powerful in the area between Syria and Iraq. Many people, cities and weapons are under their control.

This week President Obama declared war on ISIL. He vowed to destroy them. He will need a better government in Iraq in order to do this. He will have to help the forces in Syria fighting the Assad regime.

He will need the support of many other countries.

In a world where it is hard to tell friends from enemies, this war will be a challenge. And now, extremists from many nations are flocking to ISIL. They may come back to their home countries with radical ideas for change through violent means.

What role should the U.S. Congress play?

Some people do not see why any of this is America’s business. Most people realize that unless something is done, America may not know what hits it when it does.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor September 11, 2014



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