In Egyptian mythology, the goddess Isis resurrected her dead husband Osiris in order to create a son who would avenge his murder. Isis named her son Horus, who is a favorite among some members of secret societies, such as those who placed the “all-seeing eye of Horus” on the back of the one-dollar bill.
Isis is also a favorite of occult practitioners who call her the goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom. According to the pagans, the offspring of Isis produced order in the universe in sharp contrast to the chaos, misery, and death produced by her modern namesakes.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is the most hated terrorist group in the world. They are infamous for mass executions and beheadings in the Middle East, and for brutal acts of terror in Europe and the United States.
The Islamic State grew like a cancerous tumor in Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in December, 2011. The U.S. left behind a power vacuum in the Sunni sections of Iraq that was soon filled by the newly created Islamic State. The rebels named themselves ISIS after they expanded their Iraqi operations into Syria.
The growth of a Sunni terrorist army in Iraq was inevitable after the end of the U.S. military occupation without a viable plan to maintain order. Critics wonder if a strategic blunder of such magnitude could have been accidental.
The early military success of ISIS was almost unbelievable. Read this description from Wikipedia:
On 4 June, the insurgents began their efforts to capture Mosul. The Iraqi army had 30,000 soldiers stationed in the city, facing a 1,500-member attacking force. However, after six days of fighting, the city, as well as Mosul International Airport and helicopters located there were under ISIL’s control. ¹
Remarkably, in less than a week, a force of 1,500 rebel fighters defeated an army twenty times as large and captured a city of over a million people. The U.S. did nothing to assist the Iraqi army to defend the city which according to Wikipedia once served as a hub for the U.S. military in the region. ²
It is amazing that a former regional hub of the U.S. military capitulated to a group of rebels armed only with rifles, grenade launchers and pickup trucks. Even more remarkable was the decision of the defending force to allow the capture of enough weapons to equip an army:
According to Reuters, the U.S.-made weaponry that fell into enemy hands including 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles, at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems, plus small arms and ammunition. ³
Before ISIS sacked Mosul the oil kingdoms showered gifts on the new Sunni army including hundreds of brand new Toyota pickup trucks. Almost overnight, ISIS became a military force to be reckoned with.
Shiny new trucks, advanced weapons, and religious rhetoric enhanced ISIS recruiting efforts among the thousands of unemployed Sunni Arab youths who mistrusted the Shiite government in Baghdad. Many of them died as suicide bombers but only after wreaking havoc across the Middle East.
After the stunning victory in Mosul, the media began to paint ISIS as the world’s most feared terrorist organization. As a result, President Obama declared war on ISIS. He made the announcement three months after the rebel group added Mosul to their previous conquests in Anbar Province where 1,335 Americans died fighting in places like Fallujah and Ramadi.
After Obama’s declaration of war, new funding for military hardware and security equipment was authorized to combat the ISIS threat. Despite massive expenditures, the half-hearted effort to defeat ISIS dragged on for over a year producing almost no results except to serve as cover for western regime change efforts in Syria.
With ISIS portrayed as a villainous threat to the world, Russian President Putin played the knight in shining armor and sent Russian forces into Syria to fight the terrorists. One year after the U.S. coalition began the war against ISIS, the new Russian airbase in Syria was completed. In the year that followed, Russian pilots flew over 9,000 combat missions against ISIS and other terrorist targets.
The Russian attacks destroyed the myth of the mighty ISIS. In less than a year, the Russians claimed to have eliminated 28,000 fighters, or one third of ISIS forces in Syria. The contrast between the minimal results of the U.S. efforts against ISIS, and the dramatic results of Russian operations, caused an embarrassment for the U.S. military. The Russian success against the terrorists brought into question the sincerity of the U.S. military campaign.
The Russian Air Force and the Syrian army retook the City of Palmyra from ISIS in March, 2016. The Russians maximized their propaganda victory. RT documented the pointless destruction of ancient temples by the Islamist radicals.
After securing Palmyra, a Russian orchestra performed in the same Roman amphitheater that ISIS used to conduct a mass execution of Syrian soldiers. The symbolism was obvious. Russia and the Syrian government represented civilization and progress, ISIS and their supporters represented brutality and backwardness.
The Russians exposed the funding of ISIS from the sales of stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil. Russian fighter-bombers soon destroyed the oil tankers.
The success of Russian bombers, cruise missiles, and tanks demonstrated to the world the effectiveness of their armed forces. The Russians proved that Islamic rebel armies can be defeated in a short period of time by advanced air power. Russia’s modern weapon systems and successful combat operations have been on display for over two years in Syria. As a result, the assumption that U.S. forces are the most powerful in the world has been put into doubt. The propaganda coup was enormous.
It is dangerous for the failures of the U.S. military to be revealed in such a transparent way. If the U.S. military presents itself as incapable of defeating a poorly equipped rebel army, then America will be perceived as weak and America’s enemies may think they have nothing to fear.
But even worse than allowing the spread of ISIS was the opportunity they provided for Russia to complete a foreign policy coup that caused immeasurable harm to the reputation of the United States in the world.
Notes in bold
Stephen A. Molling is a veteran of the United States Navy and the author of The Uragon Protocol, a description of a future conflict between Russia and the United States.