Friday, July 17, 2015
Four Marines fell in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015 at the Marine Corps Reserve Center. One had earned two Purple Hearts and their unit served in the battle of Fallujah. Yet on this Thursday they died on home soil.
Twenty-four-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez pulled the trigger. But it seems a murderous viral ideology loaded the gun and filled his mind.
On his Facebook page he recently posted the following:
"This life is that test designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire … we ask Allah to make us follow their path … to give us a complete understanding of the message of Islam, and the strength to live by this knowledge, and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world."
While his post didn't pledge violence, it seems clear the seeds of murder had already been sown. It's not clear ISIS inspired him but his behavior fits their call for "lone wolf" attacks during the month of Ramadan against U.S. military and police.
But those calls for Western Muslims have been issued for many months. In Destination Jerusalem this reporter cited specific ISIS instructions issued last year:
"Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes." p. 152
We're now living in the time when as one expert said the worlds of international and domestic terrorism collide. So called "lone wolves" - who may not have direct contact with a foreign group like ISIS - nevertheless embrace their same mission and motive … and act.
FBI Director James Comey warned Congress just days ago when he explained how these calls by ISIS play on fertile minds: "This is not your grandfather's al-Qaeda. There's a device, almost a devil on their shoulder all day long saying, 'Kill, kill, kill, kill.'"
We're at war.
On July 16, the battlefield was Chattanooga. Who knows where the next battlefield will be on U.S. soil. But many are at war with our country and way of life. Many years ago, Osama bin Laden issued a declaration of war against the United States of America. That declaration spawned 9/11.
Now ISIS - the Islamic group that has usurped the lead role of al Qaeda in global jihad - is continuing that war. Just over one year ago on July 5, 2014, the leader of ISIS declared a caliphate. The significance of his declaration laid in the fact that al-Baghdadi and many Muslims see the world far differently than most Westerners. As Baghdadi proclaimed they divide the world in two:
"O Ummah (nation) of Islam, indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy - the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the Jews." P. 62
He espoused one of the basic tenets of Islam - that dogma divides the world into two spheres: The House of War and the House of Peace. The House of Peace consists of those lands under the subjugation of Islam; the House of War makes up those lands yet to fall under the sway of Islam.
ISIS, al Qaeda and some other Muslims feel it is their duty to make sure that the House of War is subjugated to the House of Peace. Those lands include Israel, Europe, the United States … and Chattanooga.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
According to an Iranian expert, the nuclear deal (JCOPA) will lead to a confrontation between the major powers of the Middle East.
Iranian-born Menashe Amir hosts a radio show that broadcasts into Iran itself. Given his extensive understanding of the Middle East, his knowledge of the Iranian mindset and the region's religious and geo-political dynamics, CBN News asked Amir about the fallout from this historic agreement reached on July 14, 2015.
Here's some of the excerpts from that interview:
First, Amir explained why the agreement shows that Iran "took" the US to a Mideast bazaar and came out the winner.
Amir expounded on why Iran - despite this agreement - still considers the United States their sworn enemy.
Amir also pointed out why there is a huge conflict between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. These two nations represent the two rival factions within Islam.
He also described why this agreement will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Amir showed why this deal has made the Iranian regime happy and presents difficult days for Israel.
Amir expounded how this agreement could lead to a Mideast war.
Finally, Amir explained how Iran because of this deal will get "the bomb."
Friday, July 10, 2015
Why are so many in the Middle East concerned about the possible nuclear deal with Iran?
In the short term, one of the main concerns in the region would be the billions of dollars Iran would receive in sanctions relief.
Even the U.S. State Department released a report recently saying Iran remains one of the chief sponsors of terror in the world. Those billions of dollars could be funneled to support Iran's battle to establish a Shiite government in Yemen, re-supply the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and continue to prop up the government of Syrian president Bashar al Assad.
Many here in Israel and throughout the area feel that would be a high price to pay for a deal that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says would all but guarantee that Iran would eventually get a nuclear bomb.
If history is any judge, Israel will do all it can to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. In 1981, they bombed the nuclear reactor in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was building. In 2007, they bombed the nuclear plant president Assad was building in Syria.
They don't want any of their neighbors to get a nuclear device that threatens the survival of the Jewish state. If a deal is struck that, as Netanyahu has said would pave the way for Iran to get a nuclear device, it seems plausible that Israel would do what it has to do, including a military strike to destroy Iran's nuclear program.
In fact, a report just the other day in an Israeli news outlet said the Israel Defense Force has appointed a special team to plan for a potential strike.
It seems Netanyahu feels destined to be the leader to stop Iran. As this reporter explained in Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead, CBN News accompanied the prime minister to Moscow in November 2013.
He went to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin not to sign one of the interim deals with Iran. During a background briefing to the traveling press, I asked Netanyahu if he felt in a similar position as Winston Churchill in the 1930s.
At that time in history, Churchill warned the world of the dangers of a re-armed Nazi Germany. Now, Netanyahu like a voice in the wilderness is sounding the alarm about a nuclear Iran.
He answered, "I need to make sure I do everything in my power in the time that I have as leader of Israel to make sure that the chain of Jewish existence and the chain in the life of the Jewish people in the Jewish state is not severed. This is my responsibility."
So it's possible in the event of a deal with Iran that allows the Islamic regime to get a nuclear bomb, we might see a greater conflict - not less - here in the region and possibly the world.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
President Barack Obama paid a rare visit to the Pentagon this week and gave an update on his ambition “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL.” He painted a rosy picture.
“This is a cause, a coalition, that’s united countries across the globe -- some 60 nations, including Arab partners. Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power, across our government -- military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and perhaps most importantly, the power of our values,” the president said.
He went on to list his administration’s achievements.
“Our coalition has now hit ISIL with more than 5,000 airstrikes. We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps. We’ve eliminated thousands of fighters, including senior ISIL commanders. And over the past year, we’ve seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back.”
Yet, the next day, Republican Sen. John McCain delivered a blistering critique of the administration’s policy before a Senate committee.
“President Obama delivered remarks that were in delusion. It is right, but ultimately unneeded, to point out that we have done airstrikes and pushed equipment out of the territory. None of the progress of the president cited suggests that we are on a path to success,” McCain said.
“Since U.S. and coalition airstrikes began last year, ISIS has continued to enjoy successes, including taking Ramadi and other key terrain in Iraq, holding over half the territory in Syria, and controlling every border post between Iraq and Syria. The longer ISIS remains undefeated in Iraq and Syria, the more potent its message is to those around the globe who… may be radicalized and inspired mayhem on its behalf,” he continued.
“It is not that we are doing nothing. It is that that there is no compelling reason to believe that anything we are doing currently will be sufficient to achieve the president’s long stated goal of degrading or destroying ISIS in the short-term or long-term … They suggest that we are not winning. When you are not winning a war, you're losing,” he concluded.
McCain voices the same concern many share here in the Middle East. It’s a worry that U.S. policy toward ISIS is weak and impotent. In the meantime, this Islamic scourge continues to devour lands and peoples. They seem compelled to make their latest monstrous deed worse than their previous atrocities. For example, 25 Syrian soldiers met their doom in the ancient ruins of Palmyra. In a scene worthy of Rome’s Coliseum 2,000 years ago, young boys lined up behind the kneeling and bound soldiers and executed them before a bloodthirsty crowd.
Tragically, it was thumbs down for the ill-fated soldiers and many, including Sen. McCain, feel it’s thumbs down for President Obama’s policy.
Perhaps the group most affected by the administration’s policy is the Kurds. Despite being the most cohesive fighting group staring down this Islamic menace, according to a recent report in The Telegraph, Obama is preventing other Arab nations in the Middle East from arming the Kurds with heavy weapons.
“Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.
“They now say they are willing to 'go it alone' in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channeled through Baghdad.
“High-level officials from the Gulf States and others have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr. Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] have failed … The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to ISIL without seeking U.S. approval.
“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating ISIL, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” a senior Arab government official said. “With ISIL making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”
As this reporter chronicles in his book, Destination Jerusalem, Kurdish military officers on the front lines told us they needed heavy U.S. weapons to confront ISIS. Since ISIS captured tons of weapons from a fleeing Iraqi army, they stood outgunned on the battlefield. Ironically, the Kurds find themselves facing modern American weapons while they fight with outdated equipment.
One year after they asked for better weapons, along with adequate training, those pleas are largely unanswered even though they appear to be the one military force in the region capable and willing to confront ISIS successfully.
McCain concludes that ISIS can be defeated but not given our current strategy.
“ISIS is not 10 feet tall. It can be and must be defeated. But that will never happen if we continue to delude ourselves about our current campaign,” McCain said. “The president is fond of the truism that there is no military solution to ISIS or any other problem, but what he is so often fail to realize is that there is sometimes a major military dimension to achieving a political solution. It is clear that we are moving in a time of unprecedented turmoil. We see it on our television screens every day.”
With the current strategy, it appears we will be seeing this “unprecedented turmoil” for the foreseeable future.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
How would Americans respond if dozens of ISIS terrorists emerged from tunnels inside a major US city like San Diego? According to a new thriller from Dan Gordon, that horrific scenario is all too possible.
Day of the Dead is his new novel based on front lines, real life experiences from last summer's war with Hamas.
They dug tunnels inside Israel and planned to kill, maim, and kidnap as many Israelis as they could.
Thankfully, the IDF stopped those deadly plans. But is the United States ready for ISIS to use already dug drug smuggling tunnels? We talked to Gordon about his book and why he feels it's a wakeup call to the United States.
Monday, June 01, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau warns a nuclear Iran is a thousand times worse than ISIS.
And, U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham says Mideast Christianity is in peril.
Plus a former Muslim girl recounts her escape from Islam; and a photojournalist looks at Israel's history.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Mideast Christian News reported the following:
Washington, May 14,MCN:
The Iraqi nun Diana Momeka told the Congress Wednesday that the Christian Iraqis have lost "everything including their dignity and history," while ISIS attempts to eliminate the Christian existence in the area.
Momeka, who was displaced by ISIS, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that although a year has passed since ISIS gained control over the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, Christian Iraqi citizens are still in dire need of assistance in liberating their lands.
According to the Christian Post newspaper, Sister Diana, who works with the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, escaped from Qaraqosh to the Kurdistan region last summer after ISIS assumed control over the Mosul region.
Diana explained in the hearing session held before Congress on Iraqi Christians that she is one of over 120,000 citizens who left their houses and property and fled to Kurdistan to escape from crimes committed by ISIS.
She asked, “Why should we leave our country? What have we done? The Christians of Iraq are the first people of the land.” She mentioned that ISIS aims to empty Iraq of Christians, so it displaces Christians forcibly.
“When you lose your house and everything you own, you lose your culture and heritage. Thus, you also lose your identity. We lost our identity,” she said.
Katharyn Hanson, a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Cultural Heritage Center, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on ISIS destruction of Iraqi cultural heritage. She pointed to a number of ancient cultural and religious sites and monuments destroyed by the terrorist group.
She mentioned that ISIS destroyed the tomb of the Prophet Jonah last June and also mentioned the video released by ISIS, which shows the destruction of 7th-century sculptures that were highly regarded by today's Assyrian Christians.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
The country is recovering from the terror attack in Garland, Texas. While ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, at the very least, they seem to have inspired the assault. Just a few days after the incident, here’s an idea of what’s next.
ISIS and their followers are driven by a relentless ideology. They divide the world in two categories: the House of War and the House of Peace.
The House of Peace is that part of the world already under the sway of Islam, like the Islamic State. The House of War is the part of the world not yet under the heel of Islam. Think America or Israel. The life-long duty of these jihadists is to fight and conform the House of War into the House of Peace.
This author cited the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, Bakr al-Baghdadi in Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead. Last July he declared an Islamic caliphate for the first time in nearly 100 years and declared:
"O Ummah [nation] of Islam, indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith and the camp of kufr [disbelief] and hypocrisy – the camp of the Muslims and the mujadhin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia and being mobilized by the Jews."
At the end of his address, al-Baghdadi expressed the ultimate goal of his caliphate:
“This is my advice to you. If you hold to it, you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.”
This is a worldwide jihad and America is one of their main targets. They boast now they have 71 trained soldiers in 15 states and promised to murder Pamela Geller and anyone who shields her. They also named five specific states they plan to attack: Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan.
Now with active FBI investigations into ISIS activity in all 50 states, it seems just a matter of time before the next terror attack.
The Great Debate
Immediately after the terror attack in Garland, the debate began over whether this event – a contest about cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed – "crossed the line" and unnecessarily provoked these two would-be assassins. Or did the organizers exercise their God-given freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States, which states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Donald Trump lined up on the "crossed the line" side when he asked "What the h*** were those people thinking?" On the other side, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, who led the prosecution against the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, responsible for the 1993 terror attack against the World Trade Center, wrote an article in National Review.
"It is very unfortunate that this debate is so often triggered by forms of expression that non-jihadists will find insulting and therefore that even anti-jihadists will find uncomfortable to defend.This grossly understates the stakes involved. This is about much more than cartoons.
As I outline in Islam and Free Speech, classical sharia forbids most artistic representations of animate life, not just expressions that are obviously sacrilegious. More significantly, it deems as blasphemous not just expressions that insult the prophet and Islam itself but also critical examinations of Islam...
It is not the purpose of Pam Geller, Geert Wilders, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and other activists to insult Muslims. Their mission is to awaken us to the challenge of Islamic supremacists — not just the violent jihadists but also the powerful Islamist forces behind the jihad. Islamists are attempting to coerce us into abandoning our commitment to free expression. They are pressuring us to accommodate their totalitarian system rather than accepting assimilation into our liberty culture…
It would be easy, in our preening gentility, to look down our noses at a Mohammed cartoon contest. But we’d better understand the scope of the threat the contest was meant to raise our attention to — a threat triggered by ideology, not cartoons. There is in our midst an Islamist movement that wants to suppress not only insults to Islam but all critical examination of Islam. That movement is delighted to leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihadists, and it counts the current United States government among its allies."
McCarthy makes the point that freedom is on the line in Garland, Texas, and the next place where ISIS inspired jihadists may strike. This is a battle of freedom and tyranny. If we miss this point, we do so at our peril.
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack at the convention center near Dallas that hosted a contest featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. They announced the claim on their Al Bayan radio station from the Syrian city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of their caliphate.
While intelligence experts are verifying their assertion, ISIS proclaimed "two soldiers of the caliphate" carried out Sunday's attack. They promised more attacks to come.
Whether they planned or had a hand in the operation, it marked the first time the Islamic State claimed an attack on U.S. soil. Their claim stamped an exclamation point on this incident: whether we recognize it or not, ISIS is at war with the United States of America.
One retired U.S. general on nationwide TV made the point this morning that the U.S. can't win this war until we recognize our enemy. This reporter made the same point in Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead.
Here are some excerpts that seem all too relevant in light of the near massacre in Texas.
Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military, wrote in The Art of War, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
Sun Tzu knew war. In war, he said, it's vital to know your enemy – and yourself. However, it seems that too many in the West stumble into the fray of this new warfare with radical Islam, knowing neither themselves nor their enemy.
Many cite U.S. President Barack Obama. In the beginning of America's new chapter of the war with ISIS, Obama addressed the nation on September 10, 2014. He stepped up to the podium on the State Floor of the White House, looked into the camera and began to read the teleprompter:
"My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL."
With his declared determination to destroy ISIL (ISIS), the president went on to define this newfound enemy of the United States:
"Now let's make two things clear: ISIL is not 'Islamic.' No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state."
Now he labeled the Islamic State as "not Islamic."
Yet, former Muslims, those who grew up under the shadow of Islam for much of their lives, spoke up and respectfully disagreed with the commander in chief. It may not be the Islam President Obama wants, but they say the religion and practices embraced by the Islamic State come straight from the Qur'an.
A Daring Question
One well-known former Muslim, Brother Rasheed, hosts a popular program called "Daring Questions." (www.islamexplained.com, www.facebook.com/daringquestions, @BrotherRasheed on Twitter.)
His provocative call-in program, shown on satellite throughout much of the Muslim world, challenges Muslims about what Islam really teaches. Rasheed grew up in Morocco as a Muslim but later in life embraced Christianity. He felt so strongly about President Obama's description of ISIL that he recorded the following rebuttal and posted it on YouTube.
With an exhaustive life's resume inside the world of Islam, Brother Rasheed spoke from experience and with authority. His address is a chilling reminder to the West from one who grew up under Islam of what it really teaches, who ISIL really is, and the enemy the West faces today.
He began respectfully:
"Dear Mr. President, with all due respect, sir, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said that ISIL speaks for no religion. I'm a former Muslim. My Dad is an imam. I spent more than 20 years studying Islam. I hold a bachelor's degree in religious studies. And I'm in the middle of my master's degree in terrorism studies. I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. Allow me to correct you, Mr. President, ISIL is a Muslim organization. Its name stands for Islamic State, so even the name suggests that it is an Islamic movement.
"Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, holds a PhD in Islamic studies. I doubt you know Islam better than he does. He was a preacher and a religious leader in one of the local mosques in Baghdad. ISIL's 10,000 members are all Muslims.
None of them are from any other religion. They come from different countries and have one common denominator — Islam. They are following Islam's prophet Mohammed in every detail. They imitate him by growing their beards, shaving their mustaches and in the way they dress (Sahih Muslim, Book 2, Hadith 69; http://sunnah.com/muslim/2/69).
"Mr. President, I grew up in Morocco, supposedly a moderate country. Yet I still learned at a young age to hate the enemies of Allah, especially Jews and Christians. These are represented today by Israel and the West, especially the 'Great Satan' America. I prayed five times a day, repeating Al-Fatihah, the first chapter in the Qur'an, asking Allah to lead me not in the way of those who went astray and those who have the wrath of Allah upon them. We all knew that it was Jews and Christians.
"We have been brainwashed to hate all of you in our sacred texts, in our prayers, in our Friday sermons, in our educational systems. We were ready to join any group that would one day fight you and destroy you and make Islam the religion of the whole world as the Qur'an says. This is what I and millions like me have been taught."
Arabs for Israel
Another former Muslim, Nonie Darwish, also disagreed with President Obama's view of Islam. Darwish founded Arabs for Israel.
After the president’s address, we spoke with her one day via Skype at an undisclosed location. She – like Brother Rasheed – cannot divulge where she lives because fatwas (Islamic religious edicts) have declared she can be killed. It's another living example of how Islam is often not a "religion of peace."
"So this idea that what ISIS (ISIL) is doing is un-Islamic is not true at all," she told us. She explained ISIS's ultimate goal. "The goals of the Islamic State are to empower itself to control the whole of the Middle East and expand to achieve the goals of Islam of converting the whole world into one Islamic state, forcing Islam on the rest of the world."
Like Brother Rasheed, she warned that political correctness masks the true danger of ISIS, obscures the true identity of our enemy and puts the whole world at risk: "People have to wake up because the essence of our Judeo-Christian values and our way of life is at stake."
She feels many in the West simply "don’t get it."
"No, I don’t think they fully understand and unfortunately even people in the media in the West, many of them don't understand, that it is pure barbaric. It's not 'live and let live' the way the West thinks. Islam is not designed to co-exist. Islam is designed to replace. So it's either us or them. That's how they view it and there is no co-existence in their mind."
She added a chilling warning to the Western world if we fail to understand who our enemy is.
"Our children in the next 20 years might be fighting door to door in America with ISIS on the streets of America. …Our Western civilization is at stake. Our Judeo-Christian culture is at stake. It's being destroyed consistently and persistently by our politicians and our media."
"I don't think Western people today are acting like they care about their freedom and democracy. They're tired of protecting their freedom, and this doesn’t go unnoticed by Islam. Islam is very vigorous. It has been empowered. We are allowing ourselves to be weakened and everybody is covering up for Obama. People have to wake up because the essence of our Judeo-Christian values and our way of life is at stake. And it's not just Israel. … Israel is just the front line. This is all of Western civilization… we are getting into a very dark period of history."
Garland, Texas, may be just one more stop on this "very dark period of history."
Monday, May 04, 2015
Was ISIS behind Texas terror attack?
If not, it fits their modus operandi. If so, it's one more example of how some Muslims, like those of the Islamic State, want to limit the freedoms enjoyed in the United States of America. These attacks are designed to strike fear, intimidate and silence free speech.
In Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead, this author wrote about how ISIS has dispatched orders to Muslims in the West:
"ISIS sent out fiendish commands giving detailed instructions on how to attack Westerners: "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes."
These assaults (attacks in Moore, Okla., Sydney, Australia, and London, England) involved just a few, but the psychological shock rippled through those nations and around the world. An individual attack can often jar people more than a massive bloodbath. When ISIS marched and then murdered hundreds of Iraqi soldiers in the sands of the Iraqi desert, it jolted the West. But when ISIS beheaded American journalist James Foley, it hit home, shifted the national debate in the U.S. and prodded a reluctant president to war.
The motivation sprang from the fact that Foley was a U.S. citizen, but also from the intimate and personal nature of the murder. Beheading seems one of the most gruesome end-of-life experiences; contemplating it, an anathema. Suddenly this abhorrent act became more personal, real. That could be me. This could be my son, my brother, my friend. We grieved with Foley's parents, John and Diane. The nature of the slaying itself seemed the stuff of horror films, but this was not a movie. It was real.
Tragically, the individual beheadings continued…journalist Steven Sotloff…British aid worker David Haines…and so on.
Closer to home and fueled by Islamic State directives, could rogue groups maraud or "lone wolves" attack? Suddenly, ISIS isn’t just "over there" but now "over here." Maybe next door. People might go to work thinking, Could I be next? What if I go to the mall and something happens?
Call it the "new normal" when someone doesn’t "go postal" but "goes ISIS." Today’s ubiquitous streams of communication—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the 24/7 news cycle—amplify these attacks. Everybody knows.
For ISIS, it's all part of their strategy. To intimidate, sow fear, and bully a people…or a nation. It's psychological and spiritual warfare.
It's by design. It's terror…it's fear…on the loose. As this Arab folk tale tells us, it can be deadly:
"A wise old man, traveling on a desert road to Baghdad, met the figure of Pestilence hurrying ahead of him. 'Why are you in such a haste to reach Baghdad?' asked the old man. 'I am due to take 5,000 lives in the city,' Pestilence replied, before it went away.
"Later, on the return journey, they met again. 'You lied to me,' said the old man reproachfully. 'You said you would take 5,000 lives, but you took away 10,000 instead.'
"'I did not do it!' Pestilence swore. 'I took 5,000 and not one more; Fear killed the rest.'"
This may be the new normal.
But one woman interviewed on national TV defied the fear, refused to be intimidated and exclaimed:
"We will not live in fear in Texas!"