Friday, August 29, 2014

Does Our Government Recognize ISIL?

The Islamic terrorist group ISIS, first calling itself the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," then changing it to simply the "Islamic State" or "IS" now calls itself "ISIL", or "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant region." ISIS' self-proclaimed status as a caliphate claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and intends to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control, beginning with Syria and Iraq, of which they have now taken about 50% control of each.

What's interesting is that our President and our State Department spokespeople now refer to the terrorist group as ISIL, as if making it a legitimate state. ISIS currently holds territory in Iraq and Syria and has stated it intends to go into Jordan next. The Levant region includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and an area in southern Turkey that includes Hatay. And our government is seemingly legitimizing ISIS by referring to them as ISIL. We never used to do that with extremist groups and/or self proclaimed countries or governments, taken by force, that were not recognized by the rest of the world.

I can't help but wonder why we are using the ISIL name as opposed to simply calling it what it is - the terrorist group known as ISIS. When the United States government gives legitimacy to a terrorist group such as ISIS and acknowledges the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant region it bolsters their power within the Muslim world. I can't help but believe that President Obama and the U.S. State Department is empowering ISIS even more with their language.

In other terrorist news, Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) has proposed a new bill that would prevent Americans and foreign nationals who go to other countries to train and fight with terrorist organizations (like ISIS) from returning to the United States without the possibility of prison time for such actions. The bill would expatriate Americans and block those foreign nationals from returning without the threat of legal procedings. This would go far in preventing trained terrorists (who might happen to be Americans) from committing terrorist acts here in the United States. The bill could have prevented the Tamerlan Tsarnaev from returning to the US after he received training in Dagestan, Russia.

Congressman Wolf, who introduced the bill earlier this year, recently sent a letter to the House urging them to pass the legislation in light of the recent deaths of three Americans fighting for ISIS.

“Limited U.S. intelligence about their activities in the region effectively means our law enforcement can do nothing when they return home, despite concerns about their activities, contacts and training while in Syria,” Wolf writes. “I think most would agree we need to do more to prevent these terrorists from returning freely to the U.S.”

“The U.S. is not taking any substantial steps to discourage Americans from going over to fight—and these would-be fighters can see there is little price to pay for doing so,” the letter states. “This is an untenable situation that puts our country at greater risk of attack from a radicalized American who trains and fights with these groups and later returns home.”

Interestingly, I heard one news person say last night that this bill is "controversial." Really? With who? I can't imagine someone being opposed to this.

Why is this still an issue? In 2010 and 2011, then Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced legislation to strip Americans of their citizenship if they were found to be training and fighting with foreign terrorist organizations. But the bills never passed. Why not? How could this be a bad thing?

Currently there is no law that prevents Americans who have received terrorist training from re-entering the United States. And since we have not declared ISIS an enemy of the United States, training and fighting with them is not illegal nor does it prevent them from bringing that training home. And we saw how well that works with the Tsarnaev brothers. Why would we risk it again?

Everyone should call their Representatives and demand that they pass Congressman Wolf's bill. The security of the nation demands it. And the American people should as well.

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