By now we have all heard the terrible news from Paris. We have seen the pictures of destruction. We have seen the numbers of fallen civilians. We continue to mourn the loss of innocent life, and we all now wonder, “what’s next?”
But there are two important points that need to be addressed as to how these acts of terror took place, because a.) Warnings were raised about these issues before Friday, and b.) Failing to address them will lead to possible future attacks around the world.
In the aftermath of the coordinated attacks unleashed in Paris on Friday we have learned the identities of at least two of the attackers. One was Ismael Omar Mostefai, a French citizen who had been flagged by officials for possible ties to radical Islam, and who is believed to have traveled to Syria for several months in 2013-2014. A second attacker is believed to be Ahmed Almuhamed, who allegedly posed as a refugee from Syria in order to gain entry to France.
The revelations about the identities of these two attackers unfortunately fulfill warnings given over a year ago about the dangers of youth from around the country being recruited via social media to journey to Syria to join ISIS. It was feared that these youths would receive training by the terrorist organization, and then be sent home to commit acts of terrorism in their home countries. It also shows the accuracy of warnings given about the danger of ISIS fighters posing as Syrian refugees to infiltrate Europe to commit acts of terrorism.
The possibilities are chilling, to say the least. Youth from around the globe have traveled to join ISIS, and hundreds of them have now come home, including here in the US. We also have tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of refugees pouring out of the Middle East, demanding entry to countries all over Europe, as well as the US. Will we soon see attacks in other countries following the success of the attacks in Paris? In light of the breadth and coordination of these attacks, one has to ask why a terrorist organization like ISIS, one which Pres. Obama declared had been ‘contained’ just hours before the attacks, could have the audacity to launch such a startling attack on an American ally?
The answer is simple. They see weakness from the lack of American leadership in the region, and they are emboldened to act.
Pres. Obama’s actions, or inactions as it were, in the Middle East has created instability and chaos. From the toppling of Mubarak in Egypt and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, to the capitulation to Iran on a nuclear deal and the cold shoulder to our best ally in the region, Israel, Obama is sending a very clear signal:
We have disengaged in the Middle East.
The end result of this has not brought the peace and stability to the region many on the left thought it would. After all, we have been told for years that it was our presence in the region, our meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, that caused the extremists’ hatred of America. If we would only leave them alone, the reasoning goes, they would leave us alone.
Unfortunately, the real message that was received by the extremists was that the West no longer cares what happens in the Middle East, and like any bully faced with weakness and indifference, the extremists became emboldened. So now the Middle East looks like this (ISIS controlled territory in red):
Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not the United States should have gone into Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place. But we did go, and by doing so we committed ourselves to a course of action that was meant to fight terrorists in their countries, not ours, and to replace a state sponsor of terror in Iraq with a stable democracy that could be seen as an example for all Middle Eastern countries to follow.
By abandoning that course, Pres. Obama abandoned America’s role of leadership in the fight against terrorism.
There is undeniable evil in this world, and right now that evil is embodied by fanatics who are beheading Christians by the thousands, and are indoctrinating the next generation of mass murderers. When faced with that kind of evil, you either stand against it, or you watch it grow.
We need real leadership in the White House to stand against this kind of evil. We are not getting it from Pres. Obama, and we certainly won’t get it from a group of Democrat candidates who can’t even say the words “radical Islam.”