Let us imagine living in Syria and Iraq. I believe all pictures that we think of are blood, booming, crying, beheading, and men and women with hijab. All gruesome actions flow to our mind whenever we think of those two countries. The reasons behind this is because those two countries are occupied by a group of terrorist called The Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, ISIS and they always exercise their power by killing people brutally. Seeing this kind of inhuman activities has made Jay Sekulow written a book called “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore.” Analysis the book through finding the main theme, looking for the international politics problem and theoretical perspective of IR that have mentioned in the book are the core information that one should find while reading it.
Before going in-depth, let me first summary what the whole book is about. “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore” written by Jay Sekulow is divided into eleven chapter. The first chapter called “The Horror of Jihad” gives us the short story of the author who went to Israel in 2008 and experienced what it was like to be in Israel. His son, Jordan, was almost got kill in that country by a bomb. In the book, he also describes the current situation in Israel and how ISIS slaughters the people, “They didn’t do it with a clean chop of a sword … the jihadist kept sewing, and sewing” (3-4). Not only that he mentions about the brutal ways of killing the civilian, but he also mentions about the origin of ISIS, “What was the name of that terrorist organization?… The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It became ISIS” (4). The book also illustrates that there is not only ISIS who plans to control the world, but also other terrorist groups like Hamas. The second chapter “Rise of ISIS and the New Caliphate” demonstrates the inhuman activities conducting by jihadists, how they change the law, where they came from, their goals, and their capabilities. The third chapter “ISIS: The World’s Most Ruthless And Powerful Jihadist Army” describes the ruthlessness of ISIS, how it violates the Quran and human rights, and why it become so powerful. The fourth chapter “Hamas: Architects of Eternal Jihad” illustrates the origin of Hamas, its barbarity, its hatred toward Israel, and its goal of transferring all Muslim to Israel and not negotiate with Israel government, as well as its popularity of supporting to social establishment. The fifth chapter “Hamas: Israel Most Relentless Enemy” shows the attack of Hamas in Gaza and its worst attacks. The sixth chapter “Hamas Creates A Unity Government With Fatah, Then Launches War” is about the fail consolidation between the Hamas and Fatah. The seventh chapter “Waging Lawfare: The U.N. Tries to Transform Our Soldiers Into War Criminals” demonstrates about how Hamas violates international law and why the United Nation does not involve in this war crime and only let the United States as well the Israel to engage in it. The eighth chapter “The 2014 Gaza War: Who Are the Real War Criminals?” discusses about the international law, article 52 and 51 which is about self-defense and limitation of using military objectives respectively. Within this chapter, we could see that Israel can use forces to defend itself from Hamas, “So, yes, Israel can respond to rocket with F-16” (69). The ninth chapter is called “Hamas Systematically And Intentionally Violates The Law of War.” Just as its name, it is about the violation of the law of the combatants using human as the shield to protect themselves from the armaments and the failing of distinguishing between the civilian and combatants, which is written in article 51and 48 respectively. It also discusses the contravention of Hamas over article 16 of additional protocol 16 claiming that the holy side is protected, “Hamas launched 331 rockets at Israeli civilians from mosques during the most recent Gaza conflict” (76). Notably, at the end of this chapter, the author mentions about the neglect of the UN, Red Cross, and Obama administration over this war issue leaving Israeli governements deal with Hamas alone. It also address the issue of how these three power organization bias to the Hamas, “That is shameful and despicable. And its objectively aids terrorists. Hamas’s action violates … by siding with Hamas and advancing its jihadist’s interest and narrative of war” (81). Last but not least, chapter ten “The Stakes Could Not Be Higher” and chapter eleven “Oppose Don’t Appease: The Way Forward Against Jihad” is again about the ironic condition in which the United State, the UN and Red Cross bias to the Hamas and neglect the victims of this terrorist action which is the Israeli. It is really contradicted that even though the United States know about the threat of having terrorists in this world, but they still support it, “The Obama administration continued supporting the Brotherhood, even when it stood aside and allowed jihadists to storm the American embassy, raising the black flag of jihad over an American diplomatic facility” (90). In the last chapter, it also provides some strategies that we should use to combat ISIS and Hamas.
The origin of the ISIS and Hamas, their goals and interests, their barbarity, and how they abuse the law are the main themes of the book. ISIS or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the most powerful terrorist group in the world. Al-Qaeda in Iraq emerged itself into ISIS after al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden rejected to be part of it. The leader of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and he has been a new “Caliph Ibrahim” since July 4, 2014. The goal of ISIS is to become the world’s religion by converting everyone to Muslims, “Here’s why: Islam purports to a universal religion. In other words, its teaching encompass all aspects of life and its ultimate goal is the establishment of a global Islamic state” (16). Since Islam segregates the world into two parts which are the house of muslim and the house of war, it leads to the misinterpretation of ISIS bringing to the constant war between the non-Islamic states and ISIS, “Consequently, under the jihadist interpretation, … thereby establishing a single, global, Islamic State, also known as the Caliphate” (17). It uses all means to convert everyone to Muslims. It threatens the whole world by using mass-destruction weapons and brutal tactics like booming, beheading, and shooting. It kills not only combatants, but also civilians who live in non-Islamic countries. Furthermore, when it gains control over a territory, it changes the regulations in that territory and forces everyone to follow Sharia law, “When AQI-the forerunner to ISIS-took … the kinds of foods women were permitted to purchase” (16). Since this terrorist group is the powerful one, it never once concern about the law of war. It abuses the International Law of Armed Conflict. The first law, “In others words, combatants are required to attack only those targets that are necessary to achieve a military objective,” (31) is violated by ISIS because it attacks everyone especially the civilian since it wants to threaten the world and shows its power. ISIS also failed to follow the second law which is about the distinction of combatants and civilians. One of ISIS’s tactics is to not distinct themselves from normal citizens. Some of them wear normal clothes when conducting the terrorist acts. The third and fourth laws which are about the requirement of proportionality and human treatment respectively are also violated by ISIS. In short, we can say that this terrorist group violates every aspects of law of war, “ISIS violates every single principle of the law of war” (33). Besides ISIS, Hamas is also a powerful terrorist group created in December 1987 aiming to destroy Israel. The conflict in Gaza continued until 2005 when Israel decided to let Hamas control Gaza Strip thinking that it would be the end of the conflict. Nonetheless, after conquer Gaza, Hamas did not stop attacking Gaza, “However, rather than protect Gaza from the outside attack … from the territory” into Israel” (54). The same as ISIS, Hamas uses mass-destruction weapons to destroy Israel; it does not think about humanism; it even uses human body as its shield. This terrorist group also abuses the International Law of Armed Conflict. In short, the main themes of the book are to expose the origin of ISIS and Hamas, their aims, their brutality, and their violation toward the law of war.
Regarding to the international politic problems, this book addresses the issue of terrorism that indeed is the threat to the whole world. As mention above, ISIS and Hamas are really powerful; they have both will and capacity. They could make the world become anarchic by using mass-destruction weapon in a country in which they have conflict with or do not have conflict with. They could slaughter or beheading people and post it on the internet especially social media. They even use internet as their source to make transnational network, commit cybercrime as well as to communicate with their alliances, “On June 25, 2014, ISIS began a campaign … will be slaughtered if American attack[sic] Iraq” (38-39). Regarding to their military, they have high commitment to sacrifice themselves for the group because of religious belief. Their interest is not to seek peace, but to conduct warfare against the non-Islamic countries. Every action they do is against humanism and it even gives bad images to other Islamic states that are not in a terrorist group. Their action is the threat to the globe; therefore, the whole world must involve and put the halt into this action. In short, the international politic problem addressing in the book is about terrorism.
International relation theory, international law, conflict, and asymmetric conflict are the lessons that I have learnt in class and are addressed in the book. Regarding to international relation theory, the best theoretical perspective for this book is liberalism. According to “International Relations and World Politics” by Viotti et. al., “The liberal image is of a very complex world … world politics in an increasingly global society” (33) and “Indeed, far from seeing the state as a unitary … translational interest group” (34). These show that political theory conveying in this book is indeed about liberalism. The problem of ISIS is not only a state problem. It goes beyond the state capability. If the world neglect this issue and let the state handle it, those who live in Iraq, Syria, and Israel will experience massacre. ISIS threatens the whole world by using advance technology to create its transnational organization and networks; hence, both states and non-state organization like the United Nation must involve in this issue. Moreover, in the “International Relations and World Politics”, it also shows that “In this regards, global governance does not mean world government, but refers to the ways and means by which state and nonstate actors deal authoritatively with issue on global and regional agendas” (34). This is the prove demonstrating that the political theory in the book is indeed about liberalism. “Rise of ISIS” also somehow covers the eighth lesson, International Law and International Organization. The book portrays how ISIS and Hamas violate the law of war and the Geneva Convention Relative to Protection of Civilian Persons by using human shield. It abuses Article 16 of Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Convention by destroying the worship place, “But Hamas did more than just launch rockets from mosques” (76). Even though, a lot of destruction occurs in Israel, the international organizations like the United Nation or the Red cross tends to ignore it and even put blame on Israel saying that it does not follow the law of war by using the human shield while Israeli military only use it to protect themselves, “The Red Cross and the U.N. consistently ignore … before attacking a military target” (85). Not only that the international level do not protect Israel willingly and effectively, but it also gives supports to the Muslim government like weapons, “In Egypt, the United States actually backed the Muslim Brotherhood government … over an American diplomatic facility” (90). Hence, ironically, it means the United States support the terrorist groups, “In other words, the Obama administration rewarded Hamas for its terrorist violence” (91). “Rise of ISIS” also covers Conflict, the ninth lesson of the “International Relations and World Politics”. “Rise of ISIS” depicts that war is the main interest for terrorist groups. It also shows that civil war within the state leads to the intervention of the outside state. As mention in the book, the United States actually come and intervene the ISIS’s gruesome acts, “After President George W. Bush ordered U.S. forces to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003” (90). Furthermore, it also shows us that the terrorist groups have both will and capability to fight to be in the warfare. Regarding to capability, it demonstrates that ISIS is the world’s richest terrorist group. This means it has enough ability to afford every types of ammunition. For will, ISIS has high commitment to go against all non-Islamic state, “There was story after story of young soldiers, seriously injured, who literally. Not to leave their brothers behind on the battlefield” (23). With will and capability, ISIS becomes the world’s most powerful and effective terrorist. For deterrence, defense and war fighting, these parts are also covered in “Rise of ISIS.” Hamas always attack Israel. Since Israel also has advanced weapon; hence, we can say that this is the act of deterrence. It wants to dissuade Hamas to attack them; however, it fails to do so. Hamas already swear to destroy Israel, so this terrorist group also turns down the cease-fire proposals. This leads to the use of defense. Israel decides to engage in warfare with Hamas, “On July 1, Israel launched 34 air strikes on Gaza in response to 18 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza” (68). This results in war fighting approach. Both countries have been having conflict with one another and a lot of civilian dies. Furthermore, “Rise of ISIS” also explains that ISIS and Hamas do not use just war theory. The two terrorist groups do not concern about jus ad bellum which are about just cause, legitimate authority, proportionality, reasonable chance of success and last resort before conducting the terrorist acts and jus in bello which is about the morality or humanity sense. They just illegally establish the riot to the world. The book also covers the armed intervention and national security. Within the ninth chapter, Conflict, it also demonstrates the armed intervention and national security which is what “Rise of ISIS” covers. According to the book, the United Nation can actually intervene the conflicted state because it is violates human rights. Last but not least, the book also addresses the Asymmetric Conflict, the tenth chapter of “International Relations and World Politics”. “Rise of ISIS” illustrates the origins of the two terrorist group, ISIS and Hamas, its goals, as well as the cause of terrorism which is Islam. Moreover, it also shows the responses that should be used to eradicate terrorism which is to use counterattack, impost international legal efforts and encourage international cooperation. In short, “Rise of ISIS” by Jay Sekulow covers four lessons that I have learnt in class such as International relation theory, international law, conflict, and asymmetric conflict.
I would like to recommend this book to everyone not only the political learners because this book is actually thin and easy to read, yet contains a lot of crucial information regarding to terrorism. Terrorism is a threat to the world in the past as well as in the present day. It is not a new issue which we should take for granted; therefore, everyone should read it, analyze it, and look at the impacts that the terrorists give us. Terrorism is an ongoing issue which everyone should concern about because it threatens not only the Islamic states, but also the non-Islamic state. It is a threat to international peace and security. Therefore, everyone should read it, get better understanding about it then find ways to eradicate terrorism.
To conclude, ISIS and Hamas are the two most powerful terrorist groups in the world. These two have been threatening and slaughtering a lot of innocent people by using it gruesome tactics like beheading and booming. Therefore, the national and international states actors should take immediate action on this issue and put it into an end, so that the world can secure its peace.
Sekulow, Jay. Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore. New York: Howard, 2015. Print.Viotti, Paul R., and Mark V. Kauppi. International Relations World Politics. Fifth ed. N.p.: Pearson, 2013. Print.