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It’s called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

It is a jihadist movement and army unprecedented in size, wealth and power not seen since Islam swept through the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, part of Europe and Asia in the eighth century.

It bears many of the same characteristics as that eighth-century force – perhaps because it is modeled after it in its style of warfare and its goals.

What am I saying?

Do I expect to see ISIS conquer the Middle East, North Africa, part of Europe and Asia in the 21st century?

No, I don’t. But I do expect to see enormous carnage and destruction and bloodshed as a result of this movement – far more, perhaps, than most other analysts project.

iraq-isis-caravan

There is a ferocity to ISIS that makes even al-Qaida uncomfortable. It has already captured more wealth and armaments, including chemical weapons, than all but a handful of countries in the world possess. (By the way, have you asked yourself why the U.S. did not destroy Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons depots when capture of them was the major objective of the invasion in the first place?)

I think ISIS is being underestimated by nearly everyone.

I’m particularly concerned with the timing of its rise. It coincides with Barack Obama’s decision to order the U.S. Border Patrol to stand down, opening America’s southern boundary to anyone and everyone – from drug dealers to criminals to children to terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction. If Obama were working in conjunction with ISIS, he could not possibly have made their promise to “see you in New York” more chilling.

Brutality difficult for Westerners to even imagine is the modus operandi of ISIS. It calls for a scorched-earth policy against its enemies – which includes Christians, Shiites, Alawites, Jews, non-believers and all non-Sunnis. ISIS leadership advocates and practices barbarism designed to strike fear into the hearts and minds of its opponents and anyone who doesn’t stand with them in their strict Shariah Sunni code. Already the ISIS marauders have crucified victims, beheaded them and conducted mass executions of Iraqi soldiers and civilians. No atrocity is beneath them.

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It’s part of the strategy, the central part of the strategy, they pray will deliver to them the entire Levant. What is the Levant? It’s big area, if ill-defined. But it usually includes the following: the Eastern Mediterranean Anatolia and Egypt – meaning the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and part of southern Turkey. In other words, it includes crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northeast Africa.

Does that sound strikingly similar to the Islamic conquest of the eighth century? If so, it is not coincidental. It’s the same vision – the same tactics, the same strategy followed by Muhammad’s followers.

The speed of conquest by the Islamic crusade of the eighth century was nearly unprecedented in its time, possibly equaled only by the rapidity of the conquests of Alexander the Great.

The success of campaigns like that requires that superior forces faint in fear of the coming hordes. You can see it’s working already in Iraq.

Where was the air power when those caravans of armed trucks were streaming down desert roads? I keep asking myself that question. Does the Iraqi army not know how to fly its planes and helicopters? Do they not have eyes in the sky? Could they not see these armies coming? Did the U.S. leave them ill-equipped and outgunned? If so, what was our sacrifice all about?

And where have Iran’s vaunted military forces been? Were they caught unawares, too? What about now? Are they, also, quaking in fear of the black flag army?

It would be a catastrophic mistake to under-estimate this force. It’s not just men and material. There is a spiritual component to it. ISIS is comprised of true believers – men who are in a frenzy to conquer or die trying.

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