Since establishing a caliphate on the territories they controlled in June 2014, ISIS have successfully spread fear across the world and progressed in taking more land. The global community rightfully recognises their threat to the world, but wrongfully spends millions on weapons to tackle the problem – as if this is a solution.
It can surely be accepted quite unanimously that come the caliphates second birthday in a few months time they will be celebrating their growth and grotesque achievements jubilantly. This is because after two years they have every right to feel as if they a winning this war.
Even if all these air strikes were significantly limiting their advance (which they’re not), I’m thinking more about their success in the psychological war. The 3 headlines of the year thus far: Trumps growing prominence in the US election campaign, growing Eurosceptism across the continent, and growing fear of the next terrorist attack – are all met with delight and laughter by ISIS militants in their caves, I’m sure. And here is why…
Trumps growing prominence: It seems now that there is nothing Trump can do or say to prevent him from becoming the presidential candidate for the Republics. He has contradicted himself more in the last month than even ‘the establishment’ has throughout its construction, “but at least he’s honest about”, his supporters will claim. His invitation to test the limits of offence against anything other than all-American perfection is elatedly welcomed by ISIS militants who receive deluxe propaganda material as a result. Trump directly turning Muslims away from the ‘western enemy’ and highlighting all the pitfalls of democracy and freedom of speech – that’ll suit ISIS nicely.
Growing Eurosceptism across Europe: The reality of Brexit looks more probable every day, it seems. Tory poster boy Boris is a strong figure to lead the charge out. But more alarming is the inevitable series 2 of the refugee crisis that will be coming to our screens soon (not our borders though – that wouldn’t be good for the all-important economy) and will undoubtedly spread panic, and an opportunity for the leave campaign to prey on the narrow-minded patriots they rely on. Think patriots: if we leave the EU where are all these refugees going to go? Italy? Greece? Or the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea that you swim in on your EasyJet holidays? Leaving won’t solve the crisis. Leaving will lead others to (others who have already taken in far more than we have with far worse resources), and it’ll spell defeat for the 493,000,000-strong union – suiting the 40,000-strong ISIS nicely.
Growing fear of the next terrorist attack: Terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday tragically killed 31 innocent people. The response that followed was a huge influx of various signs of solidarity and support from the West. This is commendable until you then consider the response to the terrorist attack in Ankara a week earlier that killed 32 equally innocent people. Why is it we feel so much heartache for Brussels but not for Ankara? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact Brussels is no doubt a city of the western bloc, whereas Ankara is somewhat on the fence (it is predominantly Muslim, after all). Make no mistake that the war ISIS is fighting is against nothing other than the West, and so when we self-righteously fail to treat tragedies equally, well – that’ll suit ISIS nicely.
Defeating ISIS is no simple task, but we should be wary of playing our cards right into their hands. Following the Brussels attacks I was frustrated to hear talk of this summers Euros in France being cancelled in fear of another terrorist attack. Just imagine what a result this would be for ISIS. England have tried and failed every 4 years since 1966 to win the trophy. Lets not even think about letting ISIS win it on its second birthday and before we do. With Vardy and Kane up top we actually stand a chance this year…