Four articles caught my eye this week concerning the state of affairs in the Middle East and how things got that bad. All are worth reading.
In the first, Martin Chulov brings us 'Isis: The Inside Story'. Here's the start of his long and very detailed report.
In the summer of 2004, a young jihadist in shackles and chains was walked by his captors slowly into the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq. He was nervous as two American soldiers led him through three brightly-lit buildings and then a maze of wire corridors, into an open yard, where men with middle-distance stares, wearing brightly-coloured prison uniforms, stood back warily, watching him.
“I knew some of them straight away,” he told me last month. “I had feared Bucca all the way down on the plane. But when I got there, it was much better than I thought. In every way.”
The jihadist, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed, entered Camp Bucca as a young man a decade ago, and is now a senior official within Islamic State (Isis) – having risen through its ranks with many of the men who served time alongside him in prison. Like him, the other detainees had been snatched by US soldiers from Iraq’s towns and cities and flown to a place that had already become infamous: a foreboding desert fortress that would shape the legacy of the US presence in Iraq.
The other prisoners did not take long to warm to him, Abu Ahmed recalled. They had also been terrified of Bucca, but quickly realised that far from their worst fears, the US-run prison provided an extraordinary opportunity. “We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else,” he told me. “It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire al-Qaida leadership.”
It was at Camp Bucca that Abu Ahmed first met Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of Isis who is now frequently described as the world’s most dangerous terrorist leader. From the beginning, Abu Ahmed said, others in the camp seemed to defer to him. “Even then, he was Abu Bakr. But none of us knew he would ever end up as leader.”
There's more at the link.
The second report describes how Islamic State is deliberately indoctrinating children into its violent creed and recruiting them as fighters.
IS introduces children to violence at a very young age. They are regularly forced to attend public executions for those who violate Sharia law and are sent to indoctrination camps at a very young age.
An IS “toddler kicking an unbeliever’s head,” reads the caption on one photo tweeted by an IS social media account on Twitter. “Woe to you, o unbelievers and apostates from such a generation that got soaked with the love of cutting off the heads and snipping the necks.”
IS also touts its “youngest fighters” on Twitter, celebrating their contributions to the radical group’s fight.
A young boy holding a rifle as tall as he is recently became an IS poster-child when he was reportedly “martyred” with his father during a U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq, according to MEMRI.
Another child, also purportedly killed in battle, is shown in a military fatigue operating a large automatic rife.
In addition to children posing with weapons, “photos of children reenacting in play some ISIS atrocities, such as the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley, are also widely shared via social media,” MEMRI found.
There is little regard among IS leaders as to whether this type of indoctrination is healthy for children living under its control.
Again, more at the link. This is even more chilling in the light of today's report about a Nigerian girl being given by her father to Boko Haram fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, who tried to force her to blow herself up as a suicide bomber.
Finally, the Islamic State's war in Syria is now spilling over into Lebanon, where local villagers live in fear and great danger.
Militants from both Nusra and the so-called Islamic State crossed the Qalamoun Mountains from Syria into Lebanon and surrounded a Lebanese Army post outside Arsal. They managed to seize the town and by the time the Lebanese Army had regained control, at least 12 civilians and 17 of its soldiers had died, while 27 soldiers and policemen were kidnapped.
Four soldiers have since been killed, but most are still being held hostage in an attempt to pressure Lebanese authorities into a prisoner swap.
The attack on Arsal was a wake-up call for the already stretched Lebanese Army. It has since reinforced its northern posts and - to the relief of residents in this southern area - established a more obvious presence here.
More at the link. If this continues, look for Israel to get involved, whether directly or indirectly. It won't want a fundamentalist Islamic state on its borders, to add to the problems it already has with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
Things are getting worse by the day in the Middle East, and the policies of the current US administration are doing nothing whatsoever to change that. We'd better hope those responsible wise up sooner rather than later, because if the spread of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism continues, we're all going to pay a horrifying price.