What Is President Obama Speaking About Tonight? What is ISIS?

U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured. | AP Photo
Courtesy: AP/Politico

Despite Ray Rice being the talk of the town, there are more serious issues going on in the world right now. These issues are so serious that President Obama will be interrupting primetime programming on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. to deliver a speech to the nation.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told Politico that the speech will:

…..discuss with the American people the threat posed by ISIL and to lay out the United States’ strategy for degrading and ultimately destroying the terrorist group.

What is ISIS or ISIL?

This is a terrorist jihadist group whose goal is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. They want to set up sharia law, which is a strict religious code of conduct based on extremist Islamic beliefs.

Go further. Tell me more about ISIS or ISIL.

The group is made up of Sunnis, the same tribe which Saddam Hussein hailed from. After the U.S. took over Iraq, Sunnis were overthrown and power was given to the other tribe (which happens to make up majority of Iraq) known as the Shias. The Shias oppressed the Sunnis which made them go crazy and decide to form their own alliance.

Why does the President continue to say ISIL while news reports say ISIS?

It could be for dramatic effect. ISIS means: Islamic State in Iraq and Syria whereas ISIL means: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is another word for the Eastern Mediterranean where Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus and Turkey. The White House may be using the word ISIL to imply that the whole region is under threat as long as they’re still around.

Why does President Obama want to get involved?

We’ll find out his specific answer tonight but it most likely has to do with the gruesome killings which they’ve partaken in across the region, specifically the be-headings of American journalists (James Foley and Steven Sotloff).

How does President Obama want to get involved?

In the past, the President has stated that there will be no American boots on the ground. Based on reports which are starting to come out, the United States will most likely carry out airstrike attacks in Syria against ISIS militants.

How will this effect the U.S.’s opposition against the Syrian government?

Let’s just say it’ll be weird. Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad has been in a civil war against rebel forces. The rebels don’t want Assad in power while Assad wants to stay in power. ISIS doesn’t want either of them in power and wants to take over certain parts of Syria by force to create their Islamic state. So will Syria’s government be happy that the U.S. is bombing Syria? Probably not. But they’d rather get help from the U.S. than watch their empire crumble.

How did ISIS become so powerful?

Because they’ve got money. They are supported by the Saudi Arabian government (the same guys whom the U.S. gives millions of federal aid to), sell oil on the black market and they’ve also garnered loads of ransom money from various hostages they’ve participated in. To make matters worse, ISIS has forced the Iraqi military to give up control of major Iraqi cities. The military is thrown out of power and their weapons, arsenal and money is also taken by the group.

SOURCES: NYT, Politico, WaPo