When ISIS brutally murdered a captured Jordanian fighter pilot this week – and put the video of him burning alive online – the world was horrified, and parts of it that have been quiet thus far now oppose the expanding terror group. Michael J. Totten writes of the resistance ISIS now faces, and says that the U.S. should do all it can to help those fighting the terrorists:
The Lebanese army is facing as many as 3,000 fighters in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains along the Syrian border and Nicholas Blanford reports a war of attrition is taking place there. In late January the army “roasted” ISIS with artillery, according to a military advisor he spoke to, then picked up “the smoking remains.”
Meanwhile, the Jordanian air force flew devastating sorties over the Islamic State’s “capital” of Raqqa in Syria yesterday to retaliate for the gruesome murder of its fighter pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh.
Farther afield, ISIS attacked and killed at least 30 Egyptian security men in the Sinai and killed 10 at a hotel in the Libya’s capital Tripoli …
Lebanon is also findings its spine. The army is entirely useless when the country’s various communities slug it out with each other … But Lebanon isn’t Syria, and ISIS is opposed almost monolithically in Lebanon, even among their “natural” Sunni constituency.
ISIS is expanding its deadly operations at an alarming rate, but it’s also finding out the hard way that not every country in the Middle East and North Africa is as soft a target as Syria and Iraq. Libya might be … But taking on Egypt, Jordan, and the Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq is almost as perilous for ISIS as taking on the Israelis.
Lebanon is more vulnerable—its soldiers are not especially competent—but ISIS would require a diabolical miracle to make any headway in the parts of Lebanon where Christians, Shias, and Druze live. Every family in the country has at least one rifle in the closet, and they’d correctly see ISIS as a potentially genocidal threat to their existence.
Washington’s backing of anti-ISIS proxies in Syria may be a fool’s game this late in the war, but the Kurds, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Lebanese—and maybe even the Libyans—should receive all the help from the Pentagon they can get.