Isis - the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - is the terrorist group known for its violence and strict interpretation of Islam. In August, ISIS executed its first American hostage, James Foley. Foley was an American journalist who was kidnapped by militants upon his crossing into Syria and the terrorist group claimed that his death was a result of the United States’ intervention in Iraq. Members projected the beheading of Foley on YouTube where United States intelligence officials deemed it authentic. In the video, ISIS members brought out another journalist, Steven Sotloff, and threatened to do the same with him unless American troops were withdrawn from the region.
Sotloff was an American freelance journalist who went missing while working in the region of Syria and Iraq. His family was advised to keep quiet about his disappearance out of fear that harm may befall him if he was reported missing. However, the next time they would see him again would be in the video of the murder of James Foley. After viewing this video, Sotloff’s mother sent a plea to the group asking them to spare their son’s life.
Sadly, less than a month later Steven Sotloff would pay the price, as stated in the video titled “Second Letter to America” and addressed to President Obama. The executor states “Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the neck of your people.” In response to both acts of murder, the Obama administration addressed the crisis with ISIS as a “Cancer that has no place in the 21st century.” Although most Americans are reluctant to go to war in the Middle East again, President Obama states that “The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people.”
Now, a little over a week later, ISIS claimed the life of another Western victim – British aid worker David Haines, raising the death toll of captives to three. ISIS members claim that his death was due to the United Kingdom’s “evil alliance” with the United States. Haines death brought on strong opposition from the UK, a spokesperson for David Cameron stated “The government will not change its approach one iota in response to acts of barbarity perpetrated by Isil (IS).” Like the previous videos,the ending displayed another captive, this time portraying another British national named Alan Henning.
When questioned about what the U.S. would do to combat the threat of ISIS, President Obama stated at U.S. Central Command in Florida, “After a decade of massive ground deployments, it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries’ futures,”. Rather than sending troops on the region to fight on foot, President Obama intends to fight back with air strikes and training its allies. The U.S. is trying to gain support and form new partnerships with other countries across seas in the hopes that they can contain and put an end to the spread of ISIS’s influence.