After withdrawing American forces from Iraq and significantly reducing, the number of troops in Afghanistan President Obama claimed the U.S. was on a new path to safety and security in the Middle East. However, this would not be the case. As President Obama took his eyes off Iraq and Afghanistan, the Taliban and the newly formed ISIS would begin to roll back U.S. advancements in both countries and embroil both young governments in another counter-insurgency fight. As President Obama worked to reduce U.S. forces in Iraq, an “Arab Awakening” would begin to unravel historic power bases in the Middle East. Egypt, Syria, Libya and others would see uprisings against their governments sending the Middle East into a firestorm of unrest. Soon the Iraqi military would be on the run and ISIS would expand to become ISIS and claim themselves to be an Islamic State or Caliphate in the Middle East.. President Obama was now in the uncomfortable position of having enabled the rise of terrorism in the Middle East while at the same time missing opportunities to expand democratic influence across the Middle East.
According to Eitzen et al. (2014) , “The war on terrorism has not been won. Actually, United States involvement in the Middle East has caused resentment among local populations. In effect, U.S violence and occupation increased the threat of terrorism” (481). President Obama would have to act fast. Historic powerbases in the Middle East were crumbling before his eyes. The Muslim populist in the Middle East was inspired and ready for change to their governments and perceived abuses of power. ISIS was now cemented into the very fabric of Iraq and Syria and they were expanding quickly. Time was of the essence and it seemed the U.S. was either blind to the true threat of ISIS or negligently distracted by other worldly matters. President Obama had to regroup quickly in order to keep the Middle East from burning to the ground. Unfortunately, opportunities to regain momentum were missed causing further chaos., “Unexpectedly”, ,
President Obama after many delays and missteps finally began targeting ISIS and its affiliates around the world. However, ISIS was severely engrained in all of its new territories and had become significantly capable of utilizing social media to spread its extremism worldwide. The U.S. and its allies would find themselves behind in these efforts and would have to change tactics quickly to regain the edge within the cyber domain. As Levinger states,. The U.S. and its allies had to adapt quickly to blunt the continued expansion of ISIS before the entire world became the new battlefield for their global operations. ISIS was adaptive and unlike any other terrorist organization, the world had seen before. ISIS operatives were highly motivated, educated and technologically savvy. Their ability to utilize the existing environment to supply their operations surprised the U.S. and its allies. As Smith states ( The rise of ISIS transcript), “Part of the Islamic State’s resilience is its diversity in revenue sources. These include the net 3-8 million USD/day potential oil reserves, which due to crippled infrastructure, cheapened underground markets, and heavy foreign air strikes, is only partially realized. Ransoms, citizen taxes (2.5% annual income), state fees such as traffic tickets and fines, agriculture, trade, misappropriation of cultural artifacts, human trafficking, escape bribes, and private donations also contribute” (Smith, 2015). In order to combat this ever-changing and unique threat new tactics and strategies would have to be employed. The U.S. had to change and now before it saw the complete collapse of the Middle East and terrorism back in the U.S. on an unimaginable scale.
Writer Garikai Chengu in his write-up ‘America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group’ states, “The fact that the United States has a long and torrid history of backing terrorist groups will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history” (Chengu, 2014). This article by writer Garikai Chengu not only focuses on the recent event as to why one can blame the United States but also does a rundown through history; explaining America’s relationship with Al-Qaeda and Muslim extremists as far down the line as the cold war. It goes on to show the various means and measures that backfired in the case of Al-Qaeda and The Islamic States. The invasion of Iraq by the States caused confusion and led to the fall of government that in turn led to hundreds of Sunni’s being unemployed seems to be a huge factor in the growing depression and aggression of the people of Iraq towards the States. Continued loss of jobs and loss of market opportunities led to the economy falling apart. The extremists according to this article took advantage of the situation and tried turning as many people as they could against the State claiming that it was because of America that their lives were falling apart and they must be punished. Chengu goes as far as to claim that America is utilizing ISIS in three major ways, “to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance” (Chengu, 2014). The writer concludes her article by stating that the only way America will ever be able to win what they call ‘War on Terror’ is by first stopping themselves from aggravating and poking at them and giving them all the more reasons and motivation.