Courier-Mail re ISIS

Michael penned a column that ran on the front page of yesterday’s Courier-Mail:

ISLAMIC terrorists — more vicious, more radical and more dangerous than al-Qaeda — have created their own country in the Middle East.

Spanning parts of Syria and Iraq, they have named this the Islamic State.

So desperate is the situation, US President Barack Obama began air drops of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians who fled the terrorists’ latest onslaught and are now trapped in arid mountains in northern Iraq without food, water or shelter.

Air strikes may soon follow.

Iraq is virtually unrecognisable, gripped by a religious war of the kind not seen for centuries.

The terrorists have created a world where mass executions of Iraqi soldiers and beheadings are commonplace. Where oil refineries have been attacked.

Where banks, dams and millions of dollars of US-supplied weapons are seized for their own ends. Where entire Christian communities have been driven out.

Where courts, police and governance are now ruled by a draconian version of Islamic law.

Their ultimate goal? To create a borderless nation, spanning continents, that rejects democracy, ruled by a hardline religious leader known as a caliph.

Hundreds of young Australian, American and European Muslims have rushed to join the ranks of the Islamic State’s fighters.

One Australian has already blown himself up in a suicide bombing in the Iraqi capital Baghdad as part of the new terror state’s campaign to overthrow the Iraqi government.

Other Australians have posted photographs of themselves on the internet at the scenes of beheadings and executions as the terrorist army has captured city after city in its march to the edge of Baghdad.

Australian counterterrorism officials are concerned by the potential threat of veterans of this savage holy war coming back home.

This is our horrifying new reality. And the sad truth is that we in the West did this to ourselves.

The birth of this brutal terror state began with the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

With the overthrow of the dictator Saddam Hussein, the forces of Islamic holy war were unwittingly unleashed.

And one man was behind it all. A man named Abu Musab al Zarqawi. A Jordanian militant, he went to Iraq to fight the Americans and inflame civil war between Iraq’s Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. And he succeeded.

His group became al-Qaeda in Iraq, until his bombings and slaughter of innocent civilians became too much even for Osama bin Laden.

After Zarqawi’s assassination by a US air strike in 2006 his group continued, becoming known as the Islamic State of Iraq. The situation has only deteriorated since US forces withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011.

When civil war erupted in Syria that same year the group spread out from Iraq and joined the Syrian conflict, becoming stronger than ever before. It became so savage al-Qaeda disowned it. But that didn’t stop it.

In June, under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, its forces reinvaded Iraq and captured the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, and massive chunks of the country’s north and west.

Within weeks it declared the region a new religious empire. Now the terrorists are militarily strong enough to not only create, but hold onto this new Islamic realm.

And the West seems almost powerless to take it back from them.