Transnational and International Reactions to ISIS

Analysis, posted 11.04.2014, from Syria, in:
ISIS members released maps of their caliphate's anticipated jurisdiction (Twitter)

Iraq and Kurdistan:
Iraqi Kurdistan has been by far the most active in its military opposition to IS’ threat as well as the most supportive of Iraq’s internally displaced and refugee population driven from their homes by the militant group. Kurdish government and militias have since the onslaught cooperated with the Iraqi central government despite the latter’s reluctance and the United States in order to push back IS’ onslaught. Iraq’s Ayatollah Al-Sistani expressed the importance of Iraqi’s uniting against the IS threat regardless of their religious affiliation explaining that the groups ambitions are a threat to all Iraqis alike.

Iranian officials expressed the country’s readiness to work with the United States to deter the IS threat was under discussion. Iran made military advisors available to Kurdish forces to assist with their mission against IS. Furthermore, Ali Shamkhani, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative, expressed support for Iraq’s new prime minister, Haidar Al-Abadi saying: "We congratulate Hai-dar al-Abadi on his nomination as prime minister, for him personally and for religious dignitaries, the Iraqi population and its political groups.”

Turkey initially supported groups against Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad regime including ISIS before it morphed in the Islamic State now rampaging across Iraq. Turkey even freely allowed militants to cross through to Syria through its border. Turkey has officially refuted such claims despite the many reports and accusations making these claims. Turkey’s attitude slowly shifted becoming more concerned about so-called ‘jihadist’ especially after an ISIS attack took place on March 20 in the Central Anatolian province Nigde, in which 3 people were killed and 5 soldiers were wounded. In cooperation with Europe and the US, Turkey tightened its security.

As it fights its own war against militant ‘Islamists’ in Sinai, Egypt’s position clearly opposes ISIS. Reports of ISIS funding terrorist activity in Egypt further compounds the situation. Mohamed Morsi’s administration expressed support for “jihad” in Syria and figures affiliated or allied with the Muslim Brotherhood had done the same. Ever since their ousting the war in Sinai between the Egyptian army and militant groups in Sinai raged on. Evidence has been presented that the Second Rafah Massacre, in which 25 Egyptian soldiers were killed, was financed by ISIS. Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam denounced the militants as a “bloody group that poses a danger to Islam and Muslims, tarnishing its image as well as shedding blood and spreading corruption.” The Mufti also refused to refer to them as the “Islamic State.” In Egypt, Al-Daq’wa Al-Salafiya, which literally translates to the Salafist Call, and their political arm Al-Nour Salafist Party strongly criticized the ISIS and accused it of being a Shia’a invention.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah strongly opposes ISIS and has engaged against anti-Assad groups in Syria. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah described IS as a monster that poses a threat to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other states in the region and warned that these countries have people that follow IS ideology implying that they could potentially help the group emerge there.

Saudi Arabia:
The country has been accused of financing ISIS among other militant groups, but Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Al-Maulamy, expressed the country’s commitment to UN Security Council resolutions calling for the blacklisting of people affiliated with IS or accused of financing them. Two of these happen to be Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheikh denounced IS and declared the group as the “enemy number one of Islam,” adding that they in no way represent the Islamic faith nor are they a part of it. The Mufti also noted that extremism and terrorism destroy human civilization and emphasized that this is not part of Islam and that Muslims are often their first victims.

The UN Security Council blacklisted six people including IS spokesman and threatened to bring up sanctions against those who finance and arm the militant group. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had called on Iraqi leaders during Nouri Al-Maliki’s government to form a new stable one that is capable of countering the Al-Qaeda splinter group. Ki Moon expressed the UN’s concern for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq in terms of the killing, kidnapping and displacement of ci-vilians and minorities in particular and condemned IS actions

The United States eventually launched limited airstrikes against the militant organization on Au-gust 7 as they continued their onslaught and brutal attacks on civilian, particularly of ethnic and religious minorities during the months of July and August 2014. As US President Barak Obama allowed the airstrikes he spoke condemning ISIS actions and accusing them of genocide. Prior to this the US’ response was reserved. However, reports show US public figures supported US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming and supporting Syrian rebel groups against the Assad regime. These groups included ISIS’ wing in Syria. The US currently continues its assault on IS targets in cooperation with Kurdish forces to push back the militant onslaught. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced ISIS in a press release stating that its actions are “un-Islamic and morally repugnant.” The civil rights organization added that “no religion condones the murder of civilians, the beheading of religious scholars or the desecration of houses of wor-ship.” The council stated: “We condemn the actions of ISIS and reject its assertion that all Mus-lims are required to pay allegiance to its leader.”

The Vatican:
Pope Francis expressed that the “unjust aggression” of IS can be stopped, legitimizing taking military action against the onslaught but noting that it must not be up to a single nation to decide how to intervene in such a conflict. He did not call for military action but rather do what is neces-sary to stop IS aggression.