By Francisco Casillas |Staff Writer|
For the past year, ISIS has been the center of political media worldwide. With media bombarding readers with back-to-back articles about ISIS airstrikes and military action surrounding Iraq and Syria, it can be difficult to understand what is happening there.
By spreading the facts about the terrorist organization called ISIS, we can understand what happens behind the organization.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL, formed in 2013.
After seizing Mosul, Iraq, ISIS’s self-declared leader of Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a caliphate, which erased borders and pushed Taliban-like rule upon any territory they were involved in.
Their control has rapidly expanded over neighboring countries, seizing cities near supply routes and infrastructure’s such as oil plants.
ISIS continues to recruit members since it was first established. The CIA, believes that ISIS has between 20,000 to 31,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq. They also estimate that about 15,000 of the jihadists are foreign recruits who come from countries as far as Canada, Britain, Russia, and the United States.
Millions of dollars of oil revenue generated from Iraq and Syria’s eastern fields primarily fund the Islamic State, making them one of the “wealthiest terrorist groups in history,” according to The New York Times.
Luay Al-Khatteeb, director of the Iraq Energy Institute, added that ISIS can generate a minimum of $1.2 million from 25,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil per day within the black market.
According to The Wall Street Journal, most of that crude oil is smuggled into Turkey’s southern borders to be refined into petrochemical products that further fund their operations.
In addition, a mixture of Syrian rebels firearms, U.S.-made weapons, and old Soviet tanks were gathered from the black market, according to the International Business Times.
In a video released in September by the White House government, President Barack Obama announced a four part strategy against ISIS, which included a coalition with Turkey and Iraq’s new government.
“We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensible and sustained counter terrorism strategy,” stated Obama in the video. “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq. If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
Obama also stated that the U.S. will “double efforts” in cutting ISIS’s funding and counter its “warped ideology” by leading airstrikes against insurgents in Syrian in late September.
Students presented mixed thoughts about the United States’ decision to send military troops over to Syria and Iraq to fight ISIS.
“We’re at a state of war over there whether or not Obama sends people overseas,” said Michael Fane, student veteran at CSUSB.
“I think we shouldn’t be going to war and we should not take military action.”
Edgar Villegas, a Criminal Justice student, echoed Fane’s comments by agreeing that the Middle East would be in the same situation regardless if the United States intervened.
Other students think that the United States should press military action.
“I believe that America is the number one country in the world and that Obama should collapse ISIS by cutting off their oil,” said student Geovanni Ruvalcaba, a business management major.