Defeat of ISIS’ Caliphate Only Means More Terrorist Attacks In The Future
This past week marked the official end of the ISIS Caliphate as you know it. The capital Raqqa fell to the American-led coalition. The terrifying terrorist state that formerly controlled a territory as large as the United Kingdom and dominated the destinies of more than 10 million souls has been reduced to a handful of unimportant desert towns that lie along the no-man's land between Iraq and Syria.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that this feat was easily accomplished though. In total it required over three years and around 25,000 coalition airstrikes (plus thousands more from Iraqi, Russian, and Syrian fighter bombers). The results have been devastating, with literally dozens of cities and towns across Iraq and Syria destroyed, including Mosul, Ramadi, Fallujah, Aleppo, and Raqqa, once thriving and bustling metropolises all.
Would that the reconstruction requiring hundreds of billions in dollars were all that remained to accomplish. Sadly, killing the spider of ISIS' caliphate has merely released thousands of baby spiders from the egg sack it was carrying. There are now more new battles and problems created by the defeat of ISIS than any nation or alliance can hope to effectively deal with in the coming years.
The Worst Side Effects From the the So-Called Defeat of ISIS Are Still To Come
You might think that things could hardly be any worse in the wake of the human tragedy that ISIS has unleashed on Iraq and especially Syria. Over three million individuals in Iraq were displaced by the conquests of the Islamic State, which led to around 600,000 Iraqi children having missed at least a year of schooling, per the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Thousands more still have been indoctrinated by the IS.
Syria is almost an unimaginable human tragedy though. Thanks to the rise of ISIS and the Syrian Civil War, over 6.5 million adults (including 2.8 million children) were displaced, while another five million departed from Syria completely.
Worst of all, it's far from over. Just because ISIS lost the battles does not mean the war is over for them. The movement that started out as an insurgency has now returned to its formidable roots that are now widespread throughout the Middle East and well beyond.
They recently killed over 80 individuals in a south of Baghdad Shia town that was many hundreds of miles from their old caliphate heartland. Their cells in Iraq extend throughout Anbar province and Diayala province in the north. The map below shows how their territorial fortunes have fared back at their peak of power versus today:
The Return of Al Qaeda to Syria and Iraq Is Troubling
Also troubling is that a revitalized Al Qaeda has been watching and waiting in Syria. Their new standard carrier is the son of Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden. He appeals broadly to a younger, newer generation of the terrorists throughout the Middle East. In the northwest Syrian Idlib province, Ansar al Furqan has emerged from the various jihadis.
U.S. envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk recently called Idlib the biggest haven for Al Qaeda since the time of Osama bin Laden. The SITE Intelligence Institute which concerns itself with tracking the movements of jihadis warned recently:
“As these highly experienced AQ veterans still sit in Syria, situated within masses of frustrated jihadists and a growing void of hardliner leadership, only a fool would think that AQ is sitting idly by.”
Iran Picking Up the Pieces Left by ISIS Throughout the Middle East
Sadly the alternatives to Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq are only worse. While the Sunni-branded militants (like Al Qaeda and ISIS) have long considered the Western-backed monarchies of the Gulf and the Western democracies themselves as their primary enemies; their real enemy has been quietly growing and digging deep roots.
Iran and its resurgent Shiite coalition is seizing the moment to put together their decades-long dreamed of corridor stretching from Tehran through Baghdad, Mosul, Damascus, and Beirut. They managed to bring in their own led and trained militias from as far afield as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon to battle their ways across Syria.
Their insertion has changed the nature of the conflict to a full-blown Muslim Civil War. This civil war is occurring throughout a Middle East in complete chaos now. The feared Qassem Suleimani of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards recently visited Kirkuk in Iraq's Kurdish controlled region to convince the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan faction to betray the city to their Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi and the Iraqi army.
This Hashd militia has been busy recently, as it also took over Sinjar, the ancient homeland of the Yazidis located in Northern Iraq which suffered so many deprivations from the cutthroats of IS. Every day brings the Iranian goal of controlling the corridor from Iran through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon a bit closer. You may yet see the reemergence of the old Persian Empire from antiquity before Iran is through.
Tehran's success has also been notable lately in Qatar that has strayed further into the Iranian sphere of influence. Thanks to the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar from five months ago, the oil-rich emirate has been forced to turn to Iran for its food and other basic necessity imports (as a result of its long-time radical groups' support throughout the Middle East). This map shows the expanding influence of Iran throughout the entire Middle East:
The Iranians have also managed to turn Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula into a failed state thanks to the civil war they instigated when they backed the Houti tribe rebels into seizing the national capital. Saudi Arabia refused to accept this and led its own coalition to back the former Western-approved government in exile. Thanks to this conflict, Al Qaeda in Yemen is now stronger than any point since 2015.
Saudi Arabia Arming Aggressively In Desperate Need to Stop Iran
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is desperate to stop the Iranians at any price necessary. This has forced them into a widespread weapons acquisition program which the world has seldom realized since the World Wars. Aside from purchasing anything and everything their American allies will sell them in the vein of military hardware, their King Salman went to Russia earlier in October and announced some major military purchases.
This included the well-known and feared Russian made S-400 radar system. This gives the Saudis a backup to their US Patriot missile and THAAD anti-missile interceptor programs. Even Israel is worried enough about the Iranians that they agreed to look the other way while the Saudis acquired the S-400 systems.
Rumors have abounded for several years now that there is an under the table understanding between Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia as they coordinate their defenses and policies against the common enemies, including especially Iran.
You should take all of these crucial developments very seriously. The future of your retirement portfolio hangs in the balance. The Middle East is more likely to go up in flames now than ever before. IRA-approved gold and IRA-approved precious metals are your time-tested answers to insure the value of your retirement holdings with the whole region in chaos and turmoil. Gold makes sense in an IRA especially in times of crisis like these.