The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a terrorist group known for its awful war crimes and its crimes against humanity in the Middle East. Their terror is only spreading. The media usually portrays ISIS for their evil acts and ignores the important fact that many Sunni tribes and communities in Syria and Iraq join ISIS rather than be part of the Syrian and Iraqi governments.
Peter Bartu, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who deals with political transitions in the Middle East, has given me an interview that details important information on ISIS, such as the fact that the media focuses on the brutal dimensions of ISIS and ignores the allying Sunni tribes that compose a great population in the Middle East. During the Iraq war, many Sunni tribes sided with Al Qaeda, until the U.S. convinced them otherwise in the Sunni Awakening. However, after the war the U.S. left the Iraqi government in ruins with no clear leadership. They turned to an even more potent force: ISIS. ISIS provides them with a sense of consolidation in exchange for protection and a strong defense of the ISIS cause and territory. While this is appealing to the people of Syria and Iraq, they have managed to gain the attention of a broader audience.
Adolescents like the face of ISIS propaganda, Jihadi John, have abandoned their homes and families to fight for ISIS in the Middle East. Even with knowledge of ISIS’s brutality, many are still going to join ISIS to find meaning if they “feel isolated and without purpose,” or to “provide a sense of adventure,” according to Bartu. One example of this is when three teenage girls from London left their homes to board a plane to Istanbul and then cross the border in Syria to join the terrorist group, reported by cnn.com. The main reason that many teens leave their home is that ISIS is a master in using propaganda on social networks like Twitter, and making videos, such as those that show the beheadings of innocent people. The videos are “well-produced, well-acted, and well-crafted,” as stated by Bartu.
In conclusion, all the things that I have stated and then some are the reasons why ISIS is one of the most powerful and growing terrorist group to ever exist. They have managed to ally two important groups to their side, young adults who have fallen victim to their propaganda and the lesser-known Sunni tribes. It is important to note that by trying to solve the problems in the Middle East, such as the government, poverty, etc., we are able to get one step closer to beating ISIS and prevent the emergence of future terrorist groups.