At least 15,000 foreign fighters, around 2000 of them from western nations, have left their home countries to go fight on behalf of ISIS in Syria or Iraq. Yet that estimate, widely repeated in the press, is months old, and so the number is probably somewhat higher in both cases. What hasn’t been reported on much until fairly recently, is the phenomenon of foreign fighters, particularly from the west, who have gone to Syria or Iraq to join the fight against ISIS. Indeed, there have been some westerners, driven by various motivations, who have traveled to the region to support and join Kurdish fighters on the ground. They are not mercenaries, so far as we know, doing this for financial gain. Rather, they claim far more altruistic motives and are doing this at their own expense. Continue reading
Obama as the “Dog of Rome”- ISIS and Crusading Rhetoric
“To Obama, the dog of Rome, today we are slaughtering the soldiers of Bashar and tomorrow we are slaughtering your soldiers. And with god’s permission we will break this final and last crusade,” a masked man said before he was shown beheading one of the men.
President Obama as the “dog of Rome”?
The “final and last crusade”?
I was taking an undergraduate course on the Crusades at the University of North Florida in 2001 when the events of 9/11 took place. Since then, having become a historian of the crusading era, I have become almost numb to the constant rhetoric borrowed from the medieval crusades when describing modern conflicts between the West and various Islamic states or organizations. While I was pursuing my education, it was initially interesting to see such references from Al Qaeda, George Bush, or many others. But after 13 years of such rhetoric I hardly notice it anymore. Indeed, I almost skipped over the above references provided in the Al-Jazeera article when I initially read them. Continue reading