Did the World Underestimate the Militant Group ISIS?

[ 0 ] August 12, 2014 |

As the U.S. continues to drop life-saving supplies to the Yazidis in Iraq, whose existence is threatened by ISIS, some wonder if American airstrikes against the militant group could cause blowback against U.S. civilians.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is proving itself to be a deadly organization that now has claimed to be the leader of the global Islamist movement. ISIS was linked to Al Qaeda but the more well-known terror group cut ties with ISIS earlier this year. ISIS has called on Muslims worldwide to sweat allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as it leaves mass destruction, death, and terror in its wake as it seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate out of its conquered territories.

WATCH as Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for the Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live, talks about the threat ISIS poses, and how other ISIS-like groups are ready to crop up – or already have cropped up – in other failing states:

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“The issue is, you can overestimate them in the sense that they can disappear because of other forces but with these fundamental issues of inclusion, of making a Sunni population inside Iraq and elsewhere in the region feel lie it’s got a stake and a place at the table, then the ISIS kind of crowd will continue to succeed.”

But Clemons doesn’t necessarily think American engagement in the situation is a definitive factor in isolating ISIS.

“The biggest thing that will affect ISIS is whether or not you can bring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, France – the neighborhood, and parts of the neighborhood that have been at war with each other, particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of whom have concerns about ISIS – if you did that, ISIS will be short-lived,” Clemons said. “If you don’t, ISIS will continue to proceed even if the United States takes military action.”

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About Steve Clemons: Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live. He writes frequently about politics and foreign affairs. MORE Clemons is a senior fellow and the founder of the American [...]
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