U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry honored the memory of a Jordanian pilot tortured to death by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in finally calling the group by its Middle Eastern, regional Arabic name: ‘Daesh.’
The radical Islamic terror group that swallowed massive territory in Syria and Iraq and is penetrating into Europe, the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza, already has had many names.
ISIS, ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, as it is called by U.S. President Barack Obama) and “Islamic State.”
But among Arabs and Israelis the group is referred to as “Daesh,” the Arabic language moniker by which it is known to every Middle Eastern nation.
Last year after a particularly vicious attack by the group in France, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on the rest of the world to join the Middle East, contending the group never was and never will be an “Islamic State.”
Most of Europe rallied to that call, especially following its savage execution of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Basaesbeh after which it released a video a month later, showing how it burned him alive in a metal cage.
The main holdouts were English-speaking countries, among them the United States, which clung to the “ISIL” acronym, as did Great Britain.
Yesterday, however, it appears the United States joined the Middle East and Europe. Secretary of State John Kerry referred to the group as “Daesh” during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference.
One of the major tests facing the United States, Europe and “the entire civilized world,” he contended in his address, is “the rise of violent extremism.”
Kerry went on to detail how each week brings new examples of “how far the evil of these extremist groups reaches.
“Daesh’s execution of a captured Jordanian pilot by burning him alive is a new level of depravity. And far from hiding such a despicable act, they posted a video of it for all the world to see.
“And last week, the UN reported the horrifying ways that Daesh treats even its most vulnerable captives – crucifying children; burying children alive; handpicking mentally challenged children to serve as suicide bombers and kill even more innocent people. This is what we’re up against.”
But it’s not just Daesh, Kerry warned. On a visit to Pakistan last month, “extremists viciously attacked a military school, and Pakistani officials showed me the time-stamped photos of the sequence of the school’s assembly hall before and after that December 16th assault.
“At first, there were children, as children would be, lined up in their uniforms, sitting in their chairs in this auditorium, innocent faces attentive, listening, watching, waiting for knowledge. Minutes later, the scene changed – brutally and horribly – from a learning center into a killing chamber. Blood everywhere, broken eyeglasses, scattered textbooks, torn jackets, young kids strewn across the floor, lifeless bodies.”
On that day, Kerry added, the school’s principal was escorted to safety but returned to try to save her students. “When challenged by the assassins, she pointed to the children saying: “I am their mother,” her last words. “When they’d finished their slaughter in the auditorium, they telephoned on cell phones to call back for instructions, and the instructions that came through were, about the soldiers who were closing in, “kill them and then blow yourselves up.
“Let me be clear,” Kerry continued, “there are no grounds of history, religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic advantage or disadvantage, or personal ambition that justify the murder of children, the kidnapping and rape of teenage girls, or the slaughter of unarmed civilians. These atrocities can never be rationalized; they can never be excused; they must be opposed with every fiber of our being, and they must be stopped.”
He added that the world “cannot and will not cower in the face of this extremism.” Which extremism?
U.S. administration officials led by President Barack Obama cannot even bear to name it. How can America fight an enemy that it fears to even define?
Readers, there was one word missing from that incredibly passionate, graphic account delivered by America’s secretary of state to those participating at the Munich conference. Everyone there knew the word that was missing, and everyone understood its implications. Most of those in the room have used that word because for them it holds no special significance. They may fear it — but they face it.
Radical Islam. Basic radical Islamic extremism which gave birth to murderous hatred of those who do not believe in the same way.
This is an ancient threat in a new package and must be fought — as such things have been before.
But first, let’s call it what it is so at least there’s no confusion on the battlefield.
Hana Levi Julian