The Feast of Saint Louis
Over the past two weeks the United States has begun a military air campaign in northern Iraq to prevent the forces of the Islamic State from advancing into Kurdistan and devastating Kurdish peshmerga forces and to help them regain control of the Mosul Dam. The Islamic State then withdrew its forces from those locations and its advances in Iraq appear to have, for the moment, been blunted. So whither the Islamic State? Whiter Iraq and whither Syria? What is going on here? Has the insertion of limited US air power in northern Iraq and the entrance of a few hundred military advisers into the country fundamentally changed the situation or not?
The American air strikes have so far been limited and the capabilities of the Islamic State are much more advanced than any terrorist group has had in modern times. The have begun to actually form themselves into a state in the territories they have taken over and most importantly they have a serious budget. Seizing large amounts of cash in Mosul, gaining oil revenue from the fields they have captured in Syria, and presumably garnering some sort of tax revenue from their conquered territories makes them essentially a terrorist army, a force that may end up being a serious threat to the current world order.
And while the Islamic State has temporarily paused its offensive in Iraq it has done no such thing in Syria. Yesterday its forces seized the Tabqa airbase southwest of the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqah in north central Syria, thereby clearing that province of all Syrian government forces.
But here is the issue. The Islamic State needs to be defeated in both Syria and Iraq and the border between those two countries needs to be reestablished as it was before June. Unless the United States is prepared to send several hundred thousand ground troops into both Syria and Iraq (which it will not do) then it will need to coordinate with both Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which Barack Obama will be loathe to do, and some sort of working government which does not yet exist in Baghdad and have them work in concert to set things back to the way they were. Does anyone see that happening?
The rise of the Islamic State and its declaration of caliphate is nothing less than an attempt at world revolution akin to what the Nazis and the Bolsheviks did in the last century. If it is not strangled in the cradle then this world will be far different by the time the next decade ends.
Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and for their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the Muslim peoples. And join the Rosary Confraternity!