Thanks to Senator Feinstein, and quite extraordinary media bias, the CIA is now apparently an enemy of the state. Yet beyond this stale Washington waltz, America’s enemies are on the prowl. The Islamic State, for example, is taking full advantage of our distraction.
South of its de facto Iraqi capital, Mosul, ISIS is harassing Ramadi, Anbar’s provincial capital. ISIS already controls many key towns in Anbar and moves quite freely along the arterial highways into Syria. But today, the group also threatens Anbar’s Ain al-Asad air base, home to American advisers. Worse, ISIS is also skirmishing near the cities of Karbala and Samarra, home to some of Shia Islam’s holiest sites; both are now defended by Iranian-led militias.
In turn, as I and others such as Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi and Jonathan Spyer have outlined, Iran finds advantage in playing the role of an indispensable guardian. In return for security, Iran has tightened its velvet stranglehold over the Iraqi government and empowered its own theological project: Khomeinism’s regional advance. But the Ayatollah’s velvet glove always conceals a leash of spikes, as Lebanon proves.
This division of sectarian hatred is also a growing threat to international security. The chaos feeds on itself, whether it’s ISIS selling jihadism to malcontents across the globe, or Iran flexing its muscles and setting off fears in the Sunni Arab monarchies (fear of Iran is one reason Kuwait and Qatar allow their citizens to donate to fanatical Salafi-Jihadists). In recent weeks, ISIS has been circulating pamphlets among its holy warriors that prescribe child rape. And every day, those who oppose ISIS are tortured, executed, and then desecrated; a recent video shows a Syrian soldier being decapitated and then used as a toy by a crowd of children. With an enemy such as this, failure is not an option.
This ideology is both an engine and a magnet for evil. We must destroy it.