The dramatic and tragic images of refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East represent more than a temporary migration of people seeking asylum from persecution. We are witnessing the onset of a massive exodus of humanity provoked by civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, escalating insurgencies in Egypt and Afganistan, and the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda.
This great migration will change the face of Europe, and as moderate Muslims seek safe refuge from hideous acts of terror and war, radical Islam will gain territory, wealth and influence in the Middle East. Can the terrorists be stopped?
Afganistan: The Resurgence of the Taliban and the Growth of ISIS
A U.N. report issued last month showed that ISIS has gained a foothold in Afghanistan, despite U.S. efforts to limit the power of the Taliban and the spread of ISIS, which has strongholds in 25 Afghan provinces. Afghan officials told the U.N.'s al-Qaeda monitoring team that 10 percent of Taliban insurgents are ISIS sympathizers. President Obama reversed his decision to pull out of Afghanistan this year and has decided to leave nearly 10,000 troops in the area through 2016 and about half that through 2017. To date, the US has lost 2,360 service men and women in Afghanistan.
Recently, ISIS launched coordinated attacks on about a dozen Afghan police checkpoints in the eastern part of the troubled country. The death of Taliban leader Mulla Mohammed Omar and the divide among the Taliban leadership over who should succeed him was used by ISIS to recruit new fighters. Despite these losses to ISIS, the Taliban has not taken a backseat. In late September, the terror group launched one of its largest attacks since the U.S. war began in 2001, capturing the provincial capital Kunduz. The governor‘s office, the police headquarters and the main prison were all captured, releasing hundreds of prisoners and detainees. It was the first time a provincial capital was lost since 2001. After a fierce battle, Afghan security forces retook Kunduz. This month, the Taliban launched large attacks on two other provincial capitals, Maymana in the north and Ghazni in the east.
Iraq: A Broken State on the Edge of Bankruptcy
After twelve years of public corruption leading to $550 billion of Iraqi oil money spent irresponsibly between 2006 and 2014, Iraq is on the edge of bankruptcy. Three vice presidents, three deputy prime ministers, twelve ministers, many hundreds of advisors, deputy ministers, ambassadors, general managers army and police generals and colonels were fired. About 14,000 army soldiers who were supposedly assigned to guard senior officials were sent to the Defense Ministry to fight against ISIS.
It’s a start, but not enough to return the country to solvency. Iraq still has more than 700 deputy ministers, 6,000 general managers and nearly three million civil servants. The government has just announced salary cuts that weren’t received well by Iraqis. One third of the Shiite militia fighters, Iraq's most motivated fighting force against ISIS, were not paid for months. With little discipline and oversight, some of them run loose in the Iraqi streets, kidnapping people for ransom or for sectarian revenge. As am example, sixteen Turkish workers were kidnapped in Baghdad last month and later released.
Just this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi complained about the dire fiscal situation in the country. Speaking on national TV, he said: "We make 59 trillion Iraqi dinars from exporting oil. When we take the cost of exportation out, that leaves us with 45 trillion. When we take the cost of serving the debts, we have 40 trillion left. The state employees' salaries and pensions cost us 50 trillion. How do we spend on war, health, education, agriculture, services, poverty and others?"