By Zach Toillion
On the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 the terrorist group ISIS has the world on edge. After raising the U.K’s terror threat level to “severe” on August 29th, Prime Minister David Cameron announced new powers to revoke passports of Britain’s believed to have affiliations with ISIS. Great Britain’s move comes after the beheading of American journalist James Foley was determined to be the work of a British jihadist by linguistics experts. The last major terrorist attack in Great Britain were the London train bombings that occurred in July, 2005 by Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda affiliated terror groups have always seen the date of 9/11 as a psychologically significant date to commit future attacks. Although ISIS is a separate entity from Al Qaeda, the two were once allies. They officially split apart from Al Qaeda in February of 2014.
A possible attack wouldn’t necessarily take place on US soil. ISIS thus far has based its provocations in Iraq and Syria for their killing American journalists. Three weeks ago ISIS released a video that depicted the beheading of American Journalist James Foley. At the end of the video ISIS threatened to do the same thing with a second hostage, Steven Sotloff, if the President did not end targeted air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq. On August 30th, the Pentagon announced it had conducted a mission in Iraq and the mission included air strikes on ISIS forces bringing the number of missile strikes in Iraq to over 120.
On September 2nd, ISIS released a second video, “A Second Message to America,” in which Sotloff was beheaded. At the end of the video the executioner reveals that a third journalist named David Haines is also being held hostage and will be beheaded if the United States or its allies continue the current bombings. The message was, “Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”
On September 3rd, President Obama addressed the ISIS situation. “Whatever these murderers think they’ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.”
In addition to the condemnation the Pentagon announced an additional 350 U.S troops will be deployed to Iraq to protect American personnel, bringing the total to more than 1100 troops since ISIS began claiming land in Iraq.
Despite increased tension in the Middle East, most Americans remain opposed to sending ground forces into Iraq but also back the air strikes conducted against ISIS.