This Week in Politics: ISIS Attacks
In just the past week, terrorists have slaughtered hundreds of civilians in three attacks. ISIS has not officially assumed responsibility, but they are the greatest suspects on all accounts.
Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, one of the busiest European airports, was attacked Tuesday. Over 43 people were killed with 239 injured. Three attackers armed with guns and explosives opened fire and then blew themselves up in a suicide mission. This was the third suicide attack on Istanbul in 2016.
Since the attack, about 20 Islamic State militants have been taken into custody. Their findings point to a man named Akhmed Chatayev, a terrorist from Russia’s North Caucasus region, as the director of the attacks. His ties to jihadist activities are well known. According to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, “He’s probably the number one enemy in the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. He’s traveled to Syria on many occasions and became one of the top lieutenants for the minister of war for ISIS operations.”
Russian citizens like Chatayev, angered by the conflict, are the largest group of soldiers for ISIS in Russia. CNN contributor and writer of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror” Michael Weiss has asserted this attack was run by ISIS. “One of the toughest battalions in ISIS is called the Uzbek battalion. These were the guys who were essentially on the front lines guarding Falluja, the city they just lost in Iraq.” He continued, “Ask anybody inside ISIS or who’s fought ISIS. People from the former Soviet Union tend to be the most battle-hardened and willing to die.”
The deadliest attack occurred in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad when a suicide car bomb exploded through a café that was part of a larger shopping center. An enormous fire followed the explosion and many were burned to death. One hundred and twenty-five people were killed, including 25 children. Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Iraq called it “a cowardly and heinous act of unparalleled proportions,” as it targeted peaceful civilians at the end of their holy month of Ramadan.
ISIS took responsibility for this attack. The Sunni extremists claimed their targets were Shai Muslims which they consider apostates.
The Islamic State just lost Falluja after two years of holding it. These latest attacks serve as a message that ISIS can continue to fight, especially in their terroristic fashion of targeting innocent civilians.
Iraq called for three days of national mourning.
A second bomb exploded in an outdoor market in southeastern Baghdad. One person was killed and five others were wounded. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
The White House released a statement saying:
These attacks only strengthen our resolve to support Iraqi security forces as they continue to take back territory from ISIL, just as we continue to intensify our efforts to root out ISIL’s terrorist network and leaders.
UNICEF deemed the killing and maiming of children “a grave violation under international humanity law.”
Strangely enough, Hillary Clinton has not commented on these terrorist attacks. Donald Trump responded to the Istanbul attack by tweeting, “Yet another terrorist attack, this time in Turkey. Will the world ever realize what is going on? So sad. We must do everything possible to keep this horrible terrorism outside the United States.”
He also issued a statement on his website sending prayers to the families of those killed and injured.
Trump has emphasized a strong response to ISIS with torture and family-targeting. He has also said he supports the use of U.S. ground troops against them. At the same time, Trump has been accused of only igniting the conflict more, as videos of the presidential candidate have been used in IS recruiting videos. His views on halting all Muslim entry into the United States have also been called Islamophobic.
Clinton doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to treatment of the Islamic State, either. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said she “could be considered a founding member of ISIS” since she was the Secretary of State during our withdrawal from Iraq.
Clinton would intensify our air campaign against ISIS, support the training of local fighters on the ground, and emphasize diplomacy to end the Syrian Civil War.
It is unclear how exactly diplomacy efforts would work with such polarized ideologies and aims. It is also unclear, though, how Trump would be able to defeat ISIS, either. Both candidates are in for a difficult battle when it comes to dealing with the terrorist group.