The Islamic State was born in Syria and exploded into Iraq, helping to wreck both countries in the process. Now it claims adherents in Libya with enough local power to draw in the Egyptian Air Force, and perhaps Afghanistan as well. Jim Michaels has more for USA Today:
Monday, Egypt launched an airstrike against Islamic State targets in neighboring Libya after the terrorist group posted a video of militants beheading a group of Egyptian Christians.
This month, U.S. forces killed a former Taliban leader in southern Afghanistan who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State weeks earlier. The Pentagon said the group’s presence in Afghanistan was nascent but demonstrated its global aspirations.
Signs of the Islamic State have emerged throughout the Middle East. Some extremists in the Sinai, where militants battle the Egyptian government, have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. Groups affiliated with the militant organization have popped up in Algeria and Tunisia.
I’ve been arguing for months — a year? — now that any group as brutal and bloody-minded as ISIS is likely to burn itself out as it creates more and more enemies. I’ve also argued that left unchecked for too long, that the burnout process might include a regional war across the Middle East, drawing in all the major regional players.
Now here we are six weeks or so into the New Year, with the fight against ISIS having spread from the Levant, to Mesopotamia, the Libya, and now perhaps Afghanistan — while President Look At Me Looking At Me does… what, exactly?
He’s ordered enough air strikes to look good on TV, but obviously not enough to halt ISIS, much less turn them back. And he’s foresworn the use of ground troops which are absolutely necessary to win back ground.
The President who “ends wars” looks increasingly likely to leave the entire Middle East fighting its biggest war since the end of Ottoman times.