Who is ISIS? Read the background of ISIS below and high-light three facts about ISIS that you are especially concerned about.

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1 Who is ISIS? _ Read the background of ISIS below and high-light three facts about ISIS that you are especially concerned about. Our government is responsible to protect the citizens of the United States. With that in mind, over the past few months, a group called ISIS- or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has grown to become the largest terrorist network in the Middle East. Starting as a splinter group of Al Qaeda during the Iraq War, ISIS is now a well-armed, violent, extremist organization whose goal is to establish a global Islamic state based upon strict religious law. This belief system includes a hatred of democracy, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance of different faiths. In fact, ISIS is known for terrorizing religious minorities throughout the region, including Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Shiite Muslims. Other mass killings of innocent civilians have been widespread, with over a thousand murdered with many more forced to flee for their lives. Many of these people are fleeing to Europe for safety. What is equally disturbing is ISIS s treatment of women, with hundreds of young girls forced into marriage or face death. The world was also shocked to see the murder of American journalist James Foley. Recently, ISIS brought down a Russian plane with a bomb over Egypt and attacked the city of Paris killing 130 people. During the past year, ISIS has spread rapidly throughout eastern Syria and Iraq, controlling an area of close to 13,000 square miles. It has conquered Mosul and other significant Iraqi cities, grabbing two billion dollars in cash from looted bank accounts, as well as income from oil and gas fields. According to the Huffington Post, It has formed a terrorist army with an estimated 30,000-50,000 fighters and is now armed with tanks and weapons stolen from the Iraqi army. Likewise, because of its sophisticated use of social media and propaganda, ISIS has had over 2,000 Westerners join their cause, including over 200 Americans with passports. It is a group that not only poses a significant threat to human rights around the world, but to the security of our nation here at home.

2 How should the U.S. Deal with ISIS? _ By Tribune News Service, adapted by Newsela staff PRO: Send in U.S. troops President Barack Obama has no choice. He will have to become a real war leader. It is the only way to defeat the Islamic State group. He must send U.S. troops to Syria. It is the only way to win this war. Islamic State's attacks on Paris were horrific. It killed 130 people. It did not change the game, though. The game changed in 2014 when Islamic State broke out from Syria and defeated the Iraqi army. Now it has declared a country ruled by Islamic law. It is just starting in those two countries. It plans to take over others. The group, also known as ISIS, is dangerous. It threatens the United States. The Threat of a Bigger War ISIS wants its own country in the heart of the Middle East. This will cause war. ISIS is made up of Sunni Muslims. Sunnis have one view of Islam. Shiites are the other major Muslim group. Most of the people in Iraq and Iran are Shiites. A group like ISIS would cause war in the whole Middle East. Then problems will spread to Europe. People are already trying to escape the fighting. They are coming to Europe. At the same time, Russia is dropping bombs on several groups fighting in Syria. It could get even worse. ISIS is also a threat to the world. Islamic State already has a global reach. It has thousands of foreign fighters. It is skilled at using the Internet. It finds new fighters online. On top of that, it conquered Iraqi land. Iraq has lots of oil. Now ISIS is the richest extremist group in history. The Islamic State must live up to its image. It wants to prove it is a true Islamic nation. It must make people think it is powerful and growing. The way ISIS is doing that is to take the battle to its enemies. It is using terror attacks in other countries, like France. Obama cannot say these dangers are under control. They are happening across Europe now. America is just watching it happen. Our plan for dealing with the Islamic State has been weak. The Islamic State has been tough. It has survived months of our bombing. Stop ISIS from Spreading Russia has now entered the war. It is trying to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad. Its bombings have just started more fighting. Still, it has not driven the Islamic State

3 from Syria. It is true that ISIS has suffered defeats. The ethnic Kurds won a battle against ISIS. They took back the city of Sinjar. Yet ISIS bounces back every time. The United States cannot solve Syria. As long as Russia helps Assad, he will stick around. Then the war will continue. Groups like ISIS and others will keep fighting him. Also, the United States cannot fight the Islamic State everywhere. There is one answer. The U.S. could break the Islamic State s control of Iraq. That is worth doing. Commanding a state is what makes the group so powerful. Without the United States, the chances of beating ISIS are slim. Arab countries cannot fight a war against ISIS. They do not have the troops or equipment. They do not have the ability either. The Kurds can win back territory. Beating ISIS is beyond them, though. The Iraqi military is not ready. European countries cannot fight in the Middle East on their own. They still need the United States standing by their side. Iraq is weak right now. Its military cannot fight off more attacks. This is bad news for President Obama. He boasted of ending the war in Iraq and withdrawing U.S. troops. But ISIS moved in when we pulled out our troops. Adding force bit by bit will not work. We send in 50 troops at a time. Then we drop a few bombs. Waiting to send in troops is risky. It could let the Islamic State spread even farther. CON: Sending in more troops won't work More war will not stop the Islamic State group. Wanting to fight back is understandable. French President Francois Hollande wants war against the Islamic State group. He sounds like U.S. President George W. Bush when he spoke of a war against al-qaida right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. After the Paris attack, Islamic State threatened to attack Washington, D.C. Now people are even more worried. Many want to attack the group, which is also known as ISIS. There is just one problem. A war against the Islamic State is not likely to work. President Barack Obama knows that he cannot promise to destroy the Islamic State quickly. He would fail. Then he would have to eat his words. U.S. Wars Come Back To Hurt Us Our wars are what got us into this mess. We started wars after the attacks on Sept. 11. We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to stop terrorism. Unfortunately, we only have created more. We did weaken al-qaida in Afghanistan. But then they moved elsewhere. We angered people with our war in Afghanistan. Now it is coming back to hurt us. Our invasion of Iraq in 2003 removed Saddam Hussein. He led a Sunni government. We replaced him with a government led by Shiites. They are the largest

4 Muslim group in Iraq. The Shiites then attacked the Sunnis. They were angry about how Hussein had treated them. While occupying Iraq, we kicked Sunnis out of their jobs in the government. That left the Sunnis thinking they had no place in the new Iraq. Excluding the Sunnis just led to more Sunni fighters. Now we have the Islamic State. Rabbi Michael Lerner is an expert on the Middle East. He says that the West must not act only in its own interests. Lerner says we must be aware that we are all connected as people. He said: Until the powerful countries of the world are seen as mainly driven by a desire to care for the well-being of everyone else on the planet and the well-being of the planet itself, attacks like the ones in Paris will go on. The response to the Paris attack should be peace. The West must make a deal with the Middle East. Then people in the Middle East will hate the West less. Help End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict The Paris attack gives us a new reason to make peace. One way we can do this is to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That conflict has gone on for years. It may have helped cause the killings in Paris. Western powers support Israel. The United States particularly supports Israel. Osama bin Laden knew that. He used it to gain followers when he started al-qaida in the 1990s. The Arab countries were unable to get Israel to give the Palestinians their own country. Bin Laden attracted the youth of the Middle East. He told them that violence was the answer. It was the way to fight the West. Then Israel would have to give the Palestinians a country. Middle Easterners think that the United States has been bought off by Israel. Bin Laden played on that view. Many in the Middle East think the United States let Israel take Palestinian land. For years, Israel has built homes on Palestinian land. All the while, the U.S. supported Israel. President Obama is not buying into President Hollande s thinking. He is wise. Obama knows that war in Syria will not help. Rabbi Lerner s idea could achieve peace. We must change how we act in the Middle East. Then we can change the views of people who might attack us.

5 Using the checklist below as well as your knowledge of world affairs check three options that they feel the United States should take on ISIS, ranking them in order with a 1 going to the best option, to an 8 that represents the worst. Discuss with your group what you feel the best options are for our government. The President should speak out at a press conference to expose the situation to the world. Air drop humanitarian assistance such as food, blankets, medicine, to the minority groups that are being threatened, as well as aid the refugees who have escaped. Take direct military action as ISIS poses a terrorist threat that could eventually attack the United States. This would include sending in as many American military troops as necessary to defeat ISIS. Take economic action against ISIS by freezing its access to international banks and limiting trade, which will curtail its access to money and weapons. Arm moderate rebels with ammunition, machine guns, and other equipment who might help fight against ISIS. These rebels would be supported by American Special Forces and advisors. Propose an International Conference with the United Nations to help coordinate, train, equip, and finance an alliance of countries in the Middle East to contain and defeat ISIS. (The United States will hold the presidency of the UN Security Council and could use that position to lead a coalition against ISIS.) Monitor and watch as the situation presents too many risks. Once our military is there, the United States will be obligated to stay longer than it already has. Likewise, seeing that there are many pressing issues at home, we should only act if directly attacked. Continue American airstrikes and/or drone strikes on ISIS training camps, weapons, and leaders.

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