ISIL: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a terrorist group too brutal for Al Qaeda

Alex Huibsch, Staff Writer

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (AKA ISIL) is an Islamic terror group that continues to grow in size and strength and could impact the US and other countries with terrorist attacks. This could cause serious implications to the economy and possible military deployments.ISIL recently declared itself the Islamic State, with Al Baghdadi designated as caliph (a supreme Islamic religious and political leader). ISIL continues to expand and control large regions of Iraq and Syria. Currently, itfinds itself at odds with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, as well as a large number of countries such as Iran, Syria, other Middle Eastern nations, and the United States and its Western allies. ISIL established colossal power after intervening in the Syrian civil war, helping rebels fight the Bashar Al-Assad (Syrian Dictator) regime, which still continues till this day.


ISIL is notorious for its very brutal, middle age-like atrocities, such as beheadings and the countless slaughtering of innocent men, women, and children of all religions and ethnicities. The so-called Islamic State is using social media to recruit men and women from America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to become ISIL terrorists. More recently, the tragic beheadings of captured American journalists Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff were filmed and broadcasted to the entire world via YouTube. Foley and Sotloff had been held captive for roughly a year after they had been documenting the tragedies of the Syrian Civil War. Both men were also helping many women and children, doing humanitarian work while continuing on as risky free-lance journalists.


Despite ISIL’s inhumane acts on American citizens, President Obama has been reluctant to quickly announce a deliberate strategy that might incur substantial risks in dealing with the terrorist group. The President stated, “I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it and to have confidence that we’ll be able to deal with it.” Obama has ordered limited airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq, but military experts believe it will take more than air power to retake territory from the ever-growing terrorist group. Taking more aggressive action by the president could have serious implications. Retaliation by ISIL against US and its allies could impact innocent people not only in the Middle East, but also US civilians on the home front. Students of all ages could be gravely impacted by the crisis, as many have military parents that could be deployed at any given time. Other ramifications could include ISIL gaining control of vital oil and natural gas infrastructure in Iraq, or beyond in countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.


If another war in the Middle East occurred, it would hit the Western economies hard, especially America. Already reeling from economic woes from over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, gas prices would likely soar, and tax increases might be necessary to compensate for recent reductions in military personnel, equipment and modernization. This could possibly take away funding from much needed improvements in public services and infrastructure, affecting American education and transportation. Students could see cuts to extracurricular activities, academics, and school facility features. Ultimately, ISIL could impact the US and other countries with further terrorist attacks on their citizens or homelands that could trigger unwanted military deployments and further damage the US and global economy.