ISIS has opened up another theater of operations in its geopolitical ambitions: Southeast Asia. This according to the prime minister of Singapore, who reports that ISIS is recruiting effectively from his own city-state and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago.
To induce more foreign recruits to join its ranks and take up residence in its newly acquired territories, ISIS is offering them direct financial incentives. Foreign fighters receive not just a stipend for signing up with ISIS, but a $500 bonus for marrying and settling down in ISIS-held lands. Couples can earn bonuses of up to $400 per child following the nuptials.
ISIS's conquest of Palmyra has led to predictable carnage. Estimates are that the body count of men, women and children in the ancient village is now 700. This slaughter eliminates a not insignificant portion of the town's entire population. It is an action typical of ISIS's terror tactics, designed to eliminate potential opposition and cow the rest of the populace into submission. The black flag of ISIS now flies above an ancient citadel in the fallen city.
A daring raid into Syria by U.S. Delta Force commandos targeting a top ISIS official marks an escalation in U.S. ground forces' involvement in ISIS's new heartland in the Levant. Whether the successful action marks substantial progress in the conflict against ISIS, or merely greater direct American involvement in the ground war, will become clearer in the coming months.
The ancient city of Palmyra, with its rare combination of Greco-Roman and Persian influences, may be the next to fall to ISIS and its forces of cultural destruction.
Three charismatic and fascinating political leaders just threw their hat in the ring to be the next commander-in-chief: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee. All are serious and viable candidates competing for the Republican nomination for president.
Business Insider gives an excellent analysis of the social media prowess shown by ISIS in its recruitment and propaganda efforts around the globe. These tactics have drawn thousands of recruits from the West into ISIS's terror cells.
FBI Director James Comey confirms what has been suspected, given ISIS's successful online recruitment worldwide. Thousands of Americans may be following ISIS and its propaganda, as were the perpetrators of the attacks this week in Texas.
Though it does not offer proof for its affiliation with the gunmen, ISIS has publicly taken credit for the armed attack outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest on May 3 in Garland, Texas. Two men opened fire outside the event, wounding a security officer before being shot and killed themselves. What cannot be disputed is that fidelity to radical Islam motivated the assault--one conducted by disaffected U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. One of the assailants, Elton Simpson, admitted as much when he tweeted right before the attack, "May Allah accept us as mujahideen."
And now, Texas?
Americans can be grateful for the actions of a police officer in Garland, Texas, who took down two suspected terrorists who opened fire at a public event there on May 3. A security guard was wounded in the attack. ISIS claimed responsibility; that connection has not yet been confirmed.
More clear is that one of the suspected gunmen, Elton Simpson, was convicted in 2011 of lying to federal agents about his plans to join an Islamic terror cell in Africa, and was sentenced by a lenient judge to...three years' probation.
There is much to sort out here as ISIS's dark shadow lengthens--and may now have officially crossed the border.
A map recently released by the Obama administration trumpets an alleged 25 percent rollback of ISIS-held territory. But keen observers quickly made short work of the map. Excluded, they noticed, were those areas in western Syria where ISIS has made dramatic gains. The map conveniently disregards the chunks of sovereign territory gobbled up by ISIS in north Africa, Nigeria and, increasingly, Afghanistan. Indeed, this latest "Western wishful thinking" ignores the fact that in a guerrilla war, combatants can shuttle forces and readily pop up again later to reclaim (temporarily) lost territory.
That the ISIS-fueled civil war in Iraq has been acknowledged as a "stalemate" drives home the dimensions of what ISIS has accomplished in short order. These successes have been achieved throughout lands where the fine work of U.S. and allied troops, now long gone, is being systematically shredded.
While ISIS's televised mass slaughters of Christians on the Mediterranean beaches of Libya have received global attention, less reported has been ISIS's systematic progrom against Iraq's Yazidi minority. This ancient, small sect has a creed that combines elements of Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism. This is enough to qualify Yazidis as devil worshippers in the eyes of ISIS. After abducting some 40,000 Yazidis last year, ISIS has just executed more than 300 of the captives.
True to their standard tactics used elsewhere, ISIS leaders have waded into the civil war of yet another beleaguered land, Yemen. In an attempt to grow their self-proclaimed caliphate and inform the world of their presence there, ISIS also has released another execution video. This one features the gruesome deaths of 15 captured Yemeni combatants who dared to oppose them.