ISIS: It’s Not Just In Iraq Anymore

IS flagCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Even though the fight against the radical ISIS terrorist group is focused mainly in Iraq and Syria, these bloodthirsty killers are beginning to pop up all over the globe and could be coming to a town near you whether you like it or not.

The Islamic State, also known as IS, ISIS, or ISIL, is not satisfied with creating an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East but has designs on spreading their hate-filled religion around the globe. In the past week, there has been plenty of evidence that this group doesn’t do borders.

One of the most horrifying cases occurred in Australia where hundreds of police conducted pre-dawn raids and rounded up 15 ISIS militants who were planning to kidnap and behead a random citizen. Police said the operation, which involved 800 police officers, was the largest in Australian history and focused mainly on the suburbs of Brisbane and Sydney.

According to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, directives to the Australian militants were coming from an Australian who is a senior member of ISIS who has been asking members inside the country to “conduct demonstration killings here in this country.”

One man, 22  year-old Omarjan Azari of Sydney has been charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.

Officials estimate that up to 160 Australians have either become involved in the fighting in the Middle East or are actively supporting it. At least 20 of these militants have returned to Australia and now pose a serious security risk.

German officials fear the same scenario after discovering that about 450 Germans may have departed for Syria as ISIS recruits, many of whom could return at any time to conduct terrorist activities inside the country. As a result, and to aid any future police action that might be needed, the country has banned all activities that support ISIS including displays of its flag and any other recruitment propaganda the group may use to attract new followers.

The French are now forbidding the use of the name ISIS and are referring to the jihadists by the derogatory term “Daesh cut-throats.” As the Daily Mail explains, the name Daesh is taken from the loose acronym Arabian nations use to abbreviate their name for the Islamic State: al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham. It’s an acronym ISIS has condemned as “insulting and disrespectful” because it sounds too much like the Arabic word “daes” which means “one who crushes something under foot” and “dahes” which means “one who sows discord.”

This is bound to be an unpopular move with the country’s large Muslim minority population, of which 16 percent are said to be in support of ISIS.

Mufid Elgeeh

Mufid Elgeeh

The U.S., a main target of the group, has its own problems with this lawless band. Just this week, Mufid Elgeeh, 30, of Rochester, New York, was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS. The Yemen-born Elgeeh is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was plotting to kill U.S. armed forces in their homes after they had returned from war. He is also the first to be accused of recruiting on behalf of ISIS.

He won’t be the last.

A post on an on-line message board for ISIS sympathizers is encouraging would-be terrorists to attack popular U.S. tourist destinations, with Times Square being the top target.

The post is titled “To the Lone Wolves in America: How to Make a Bomb in Your Kitchen, to Create Scenes of Horror in Tourist Spots and Other Targets.” It includes bomb-making instructions along with a list of ingredients such as how to use Christmas tree lights, bleach, sugar, matches, and clocks to build homemade bombs. Instructions for making bombs similar to the pressure-cooker device used to bomb the Boston Marathon last April were also made available.

“This is a new world, if you will, or the evolving world of terrorism, and we’re staying ahead of it,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday. “We’ve been focused on it, and I believe that we are as prepared as any entity could be to deal with the threats.”

On Monday of this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie met in Manhattan with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss ways to secure the region from what they described as a mounting terror threat fueled by Islamic State extremists.

Meanwhile, the southern border remains an open question. Border officials in Texas say they have received alerts to be on the lookout for ISIS terrorists crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

“I received an intelligence report that said that there was ISIS cells that were active in the Juarez area, which is the northern part of the Chihuahua state, and that they were moving around over there, that there was some activity…” said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.

Painter says the border is wide open in some spots. “There’s places along the Rio Grande you can walk across, there’s no water in it. I worked the border for eight years I walked back and forth across the Rio Grande; I was in Mexico, I was on this side. I never got challenged. . . . There’s always a way to get across . . . . ”

He also noted that items such as Qurans and Muslim clothing have been found along the trails leading into the country.

“I think it’d be naive to say that (ISIS is) not here…” he said.

They are. According to Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), he received evidence that four individuals with ties to Middle Eastern terrorist organizations were apprehended at the Texas border. During a Homeland Security Committee hearing on  Capital Hill this week, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson,who is one of President Obama’s top campaign donors, was asked whether he knew if any such incident had occurred.

This is how the man in charge of protecting the homeland answered: “Sitting here right now, no specific case comes to mind.”

May the good Lord have mercy on us all.

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