Sovereign Islamic State?

Over the course of this semester, I have been researching the idea of the Islamic State having the capability to become a sovereign state in the international community.  Before you laugh at this post and claim that I am a psychopath, I want you to stop and consider the facts.

When you look at this question, try to eliminate the vision you have of ISIS, which is,”ISIS is a bunch of murderous savages” vision.  Yes, I feel the same way, but something many fail to realize is that the Islamic State is actually starting to form into an Islamic State.

ISIS on TruckVia Haarez

They have an education program, a source of revenue, a legal system, a governing system, and so on.  The cities that have been captured by ISIS have been turned into provinces.  Within these provinces, there are millions of people who have decided to convert to the ISIS version of Islam (which is required) or have even fled from their actual homes to live in the provinces.  Based off my research, residents who live in Iraq and Syria actually believe the Islamic State presents a more stable government than their own.

ISIS positioningVia Institute for the Study of War

One of the main questions in my paper was, what exactly is a sovereign state?  Is there actually a set definition on what it is or are we just assuming that the Western idea of a sovereign state is automatically correct?  If anyone actually has a clear and set definition, please comment below.

In order to be considered a sovereign state in the international community, the state has to be recognized by other international actors.  ISIS, in this case, most likely will never receive that benefit.  With that said,  I will leave you with a question and the question I answered throughout my paper.  Can the Islamic State successfully function without being recognized by the international community?  My answer was a yes they can, even though it would be a long drawn out process. I will not go into my answer in depth because I will end up writing another 15 page paper, but I am curious to see how others feel on the matter.  Please comment below if you feel the need to attack my claim.

Caris BookVia Institute for the Study of War

****This is a report of how ISIS governs their provinces in Syria that helped me out.****

ISIS Assault on Social Media

As I mentioned in the previous post, ISIS is using social media as a way to spread their influences and recruit. This is something that is increasing if anything rather than decreasing. If you look hard enough on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., you will most likely be able to find a page or a number of supportive posts that are represented by the Islamic State itself.  There you will be able to find reactions to recent events from the militants, teachings, etc.

However, ISIS is now using social media in a new dynamic according to Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency.  The Islamic State is now using social media as a way to display its cyber capabilities as a weapons system rather than simply for recruiting and ideology spreading.  As you can imagine, this has been a “great concern” for the NSA.

twitter-isisVia InfoWar

In a recent post by the Islamic State, the group posted a chilling message.  “Pentagon networks hacked. AMERICAN SOLDIERS WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. #CyberCaliphate”  ISIS has been known to tweet out and publicly announce the names and addresses of their targets and in this case, it is U.S. soldiers.  The threat may not be legitimate, but this would not be the first time a death of a ISIS target was rooted from call outs on social media.

The evolution of social media has completely changed the way our society works and has presented a great challenge for our national security.  It is too easy to communicate with people, especially the wrong people.  We can simply find information on someone and follow where they live and what they do on a daily basis.

Lone Wolf Attacks

As we have all heard in the news as of late, the Islamic State has taken responsibility for a shooting near Dallas, Texas at a cartoon festival, which left both shooters dead.  The attack appears to be a home grown terror attack as the shooters obtained assault rifles and body armor.  This event is horrible and all, but how does this happen? Why do these terrorists keep walking unseen on our streets?

In fact, one of the shooters had a criminal history involving a terrorism-related investigation.  Also, the shooters both showed interest of the carnival on social media, which should usually raise a red flag to our government officials.

Cartoon shootingVia WesternSlope Now

These type of attacks are not even the tip of the iceberg.  ISIS claims to have 71 trained militants located throughout the United States.  If our government officials do not find a way to improve their surveillance, there will be another catastrophe in this country.  The FBI and other officials claim it is hard to keep up with all the activity of suspected “lone wolves”, but that cannot be the excuse anymore.  ISIS is here and they will act soon enough.

Where do these “lone wolves” come from?  They are recruited by ISIS and some of them actually travel to Syria and Iraq to be trained and are then sent back in order to carry out acts of terror.  These recruits are not confronted by ISIS in person, but ISIS communicates with them via social media.  I think we all know the capabilities of the ISIS social media programs by now, but ISIS is displaying a new wave of international terrorism in terms of spreading their influence.

My Water Footprint

Before filling out the information about my water footprint, I was expecting it to be off the charts because lets be honest, we always expect the worst for ourselves.  However, I could not have been more wrong.  It turns out that I use less water than the average American.  Lets see how this occurred. Be aware these numbers come from gallons/per day.

Water used in your home and yard 63
Water used for your diet 1,015
Water used for your transportation and energy 560
Water used by your stuff 212

The first area covered was water used in my home and yard, but I consider this to be a little tainted.  According to the website I use sixty-three gallons of water a day in my home and the average American uses about one-hundred gallons.  Currently, I live in an on-campus apartment complex with three of my friends and we have access to a our own personal bathroom and a laundry room. We do have a kitchen, but due to our access to a separate cafeteria, we mainly consume food there so we do not have to clean many dishes.  Maybe a few here and there on the weekends. Also, we do not have a yard and do not have to water any plants, which I feel would have a major impact on my results.  With that said, if you asked me about water usage in ten years when I have a home of my own, these numbers would probably increase.

I was surprised to see my diet below average because since I am a student-athlete that plays football, I am constantly trying to stay healthy and in shape, especially during this current offseason with all of the training and such.  The average American uses about 1,056 gallons on their diet and I was placed slighting below at 1,015. I eat a lot of chicken and meat products with protein so I do not see how I can be below average.  And when I say a lot, I mean basically every meal. Maybe I am slacking….

Being below average in the transportation and energy aspect was even more shocking than the diet aspect.  The average American uses about 700 gallons of water during transportation and the use of energy.  I was placed at 560 gallons.  Why am I surprised? I am a student on a relatively small campus and town and I literally drive everywhere.  The cafeteria, class, library, etc.  You name it, I am driving.  Also, I do a lot of driving visiting friends at other schools, traveling home, going to sporting events (Philadelphia), and other necessary travels.  Not only do I drive, but I also fly a lot.  My sister lives in Chicago so I probably go to visit her at least four times a year.  Not to mention, I am going to Cancun in a week for spring break…

The “stuff” aspect of the chart is referring to clothes, toilet paper, paper in general, etc.  The American average in this part of the chart 232 gallons and I placed at 212.  This aspect was not surprising to me because I am the type of person that simply uses the “stuff” I already have.  I do not go shopping often, only when I have to, and I would not say I abuse paper and such by using too much.  I would say this aspect is pretty accurate.

When adding my numbers up, you would find that I use about 1,850 gallons compared to the American average of 2,088.  Like I said already, if you check in with me in the future, I firmly believe my numbers will increase.  I think me being in college right now limits me in certain aspects.  However, why in the world am I telling you about the amount of water I use?  I am telling you this because we need to appreciate our resources and stop taking them for granted.  A vast amount of people living all over the Middle East struggle to get even a third of what my numbers came out to be.  Turn off your sinks when you brush your teeth, take less than ten minute showers (I am guilty), etc.  Overall, just be appreciative about the easy lives we are capable of living.  Our lives seen like a struggle at times, but we should learn to appreciate the little things that make our lives so much easier, but also learn to not abuse them.

If you are interested in finding your water footprint, follow the link:


Local Politics

How will the United States react?  That is the number one question people of the international community ask themselves every time an issue arises around the world.  Yes, we as Americans have our own problems here is the United States, but at this point in history, we have accepted a role of coming to the aid of those in need throughout the international community.  This role has proposed the question of what politics are considered “local” now?

The United States has taken an activist role in the international community.  This means that we are committed to creating a social change on the international level.  This can be done by effecting international social norms, politics, economics, etc.  For example, our nation building campaign in Iraq after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime.

As I turn on the news or read an article online about issues going on around the globe, I find it amusing that I always immediately think of how the United States will react because like it or not, we will somehow find a way to get involved in whatever it is.  We love to play peacemaker and love spreading how great democracy is, but then again, the United States has been expected to.  A vast amount of American citizens see other forms of governing against international norms.  In other words, issues that arise in other countries often become our problem as well.

How does conflict in foreign countries affect the United States?  Well, it can affect us in a number of ways.  Our modern-day international community is connected in so many ways that conflict in foreign countries can put pressure on our foreign alliances, trade, etc.


Living in the United States, we are subject to a wide variety of cultures throughout our communities, as I mentioned in my last post.  We are exposed to different religions and ethnicities from all over the world, which can make us feel uncomfortable.  We see our culture as the norm and anything that opposes our way of life leads us into question.  Who is this person? Are they going to harm me? Are they a threat to my community?  Understanding other cultures is something society has struggled to achieve for centuries.  In fact, it has created unhealthy relationships all throughout the international community.  Why does this occur?  Conflict and profiling occurs because we approach other cultures, especially Middle Eastern cultures, with an orientalist view.  An orientalist observes the Middle East while comparing the region to the cultures of the European Union and United States, which usually transitions into claiming the Middle East is an uncivilized society.

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Although we are exposed to a variety of cultures, stereotyping or profiling has become an issue within our communities.  With that said, I can argue that no culture has been more scrutinized than the cultures that originate from the Middle Eastern region.  With today’s media and issues surrounding the Middle East, people are pushed into negative positions on the Middle East and its cultures.

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When citizens of our society look towards the Middle East and its cultures, many immediately think of terrorism and the problems it has presented for the international community, which forces people to assumptions.  For example, the Shaw in Iran, conflicts in Iran, conflicts in Israel, terrorist organizations, etc. have all affected the image of the Middle East and its cultures. Why do people jump to quick conclusions?  The answer is because many of these conflicts link back to certain cultures.  The region has been subject to centuries of conflict due to differences in beliefs, which has brought the idea that these cultures promote violence and destruction on those who opponents.

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When looking at other regions and cultures around the world, one must throw their own beliefs out the window and approach the matter with a clean mind.  Outside sources, such as the media, creates a bias that is tough to overcome.  Approaching the study of the Middle East as an orientalist is an unjust effort.  We must be able to look at the Middle East in an honest manner in order to completely understand its complexity.  The best way of understanding a culture is being able to experience it and actually live in it.  Looking from the outside in makes it extremely difficult to attain accurate conclusions.  However, the same can be said for those in the Middle East looking at our culture here in the United States.

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“Where I live; where they live”

As citizens of the United States of America, our daily routines differ from those who live in the region of the Middle East.  How are we different?  Looking at our culture and environment compared to the Middle East, we live in a completely different world.

Living in the United States provides opportunities of a lifetime, which is certainly a privilege many in the international community do not share.  The United States creates these opportunities because of the diverse community among its population.  Citizens from a wide variety of ethnicities and religions live amongst each other creating a diverse community that works as one, for the most part.

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Like the United States, countries in the Middle East share a wide variety of ethnicities and religions.  Middle Eastern ethnicities include Arabs, Kurds, Jews, Armenians, etc. However, most of these groups live separately and conflicts often ensue as a result.  Religion appears to be one of the main reasons conflicts will break out in the region.  With that said, terrorist groups emerge in order to force their religious beliefs on other religious groups or ethnicities.  For example, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is attempting to create an islamic state of their own by massacring their way through cities of Iraq and Syria.

When looking at the environment in the United States compared to the Middle East, there is a huge difference in terms available resources to live off of.  The United States has the ability to create its own resources and not depend on other countries to provide these resources like some in the Middle East.  The United States has many large bodies of water, which makes it possible to grow crops and other necessities.  For example, the majority of Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, etc. receive under ten inches of rainfall.  This makes it difficult for these countries to grow crops, which forces them into relying on other countries to provide them with food and water.

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After analyzing the Middle East and seeing the differences it has with the United States, it is evident that we, as citizens of the United States, seemingly live in a completely different world than those in the Middle East.  We all, for the most part, have all the resources we could need to make a successful living and are able to live our daily lives with those who are quite different from ourselves either ethnically or religiously.

In the Middle East, it appears to be a struggle to get hands on everyday resources, depending the nation state one lives in.  Conflict flows through the region due to religion, which has created a crisis of its own.  The Middle East appears to be the complete opposite of the United States.

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Our Generation is Scared

Over the last few days, I have been at it again talking to people around campus.  However, this time around, it did not go as smoothly as the last time, where I conducted a mini-study.  My goal was to add some student perspective to my airstrike podcast I produced last week, but I ran into a little trouble because literally no one wanted to talk to me.  I do not know if it had something to do with the cold weather or if it is because of finals week, but do people really not care about what our country is up to these days?

We are so caught up in our daily lives here in the United States that we forget there are world changing events going on outside of our little bubbles we live in, which is what causes productions of videos like this….

Ok I understand this video might be a bit exaggerated and many who knew the answers were probably edited out to prove a point, but not knowing who the vice president of the United States is? I always say we are the next in line to take over this country and knowing political officials are extremely important.  We have a privilege to vote for our government officials here in the United States, which means WE determine who and what is best for this country.  The decisions they make affect ALL of us in some way.  Also, the Civil War answers were outrageous, especially of those students who were of African-American descent.  The Civil War was a pivotal moment in their history in the United States and they do not know anything about it?

This next one…

I realize the holocaust was a little more than half a century ago, but the moral of the story is that history teaches us lessons.  I honestly feel sorry for these students because sometime in their past, someone obviously did not take the time and explain history to them.  The scary aspect of this part in history is that genocide, such as the holocaust, is still occurring today around the globe.  We as a generation have to learn to really appreciate the lives we are given here in America no matter how stressed or angry we get with school or other things.  People are age in other parts of the world would die for our opportunities.

Meanwhile as we get ready for the holidays and study for finals….

Ever since I started this blog and started talking to people around my campus, I have moved past the idea that citizens of my generation do not know what is going on, but they have moved to not wanting to talk about things, such as terrorism, economic issues, or any political issues.  Why?  We do not like talking about these things because they make us uncomfortable or nervous and no one likes that.  Americans live in a society where the United States is invincible and nothing in the outside world affects us.  People know about ISIS, but do not care because it is not a PERSONAL threat.  We only want to talk about the positive things and avoid anything negative.  What happened to the old days where the citizens called for action?  Think about it.  Again, wake up America!!

My Uncle Is Spot On

Here is my podcast on why troops are needed in the Middle East. Enjoy!

I wanted to get a podcast on my blog to show you guys the type of passion I have for this issue.  I will be honest with you.  You will hear some facts about our airstrikes on ISIS and how it is affecting our government.  I also react to what my uncle had to say in my last post.

Uncle Sam

I am scared for the future because horrible develops are being reported every single day and they are continuing to get even worse.  I really want to challenge all of you to really consider how much you are politically participating and think about how you have helped make the United States a better place.  This is our country and we can make the best of our opportunities and we cannot let ISIS or our laid back government take that away from us.  We all have a voice and I am personally challenging any one of you to go out and make a difference in your community.  Talk about issues, raise awareness, etc.

P.S. Sorry for the Obama comment.  I could not help myself.