ISIS fighters took to Twitter with glee over the weekend to celebrate the Obama Administration’s decision to join the war against them in Iraq, seeing it as both a big morale booster and a potentially huge recruitment tool.
“The crisis will become a gift,” noted one, saying that the US was ISIS biggest enemy, and that US involvement would quicken their takeover of the Persian Gulf.
Many of the Twitter posts expressed eagerness to target US warplanes now involved in the war, as well as hopes to attack other US allies across the region.
New English-language ISIS videos are emerging urging Westerners to join ISIS as soon as possible. Some of those in the videos identify themselves as Americans and Britons.
ISIS already had a bumper crop of Westerners join the war in Syria over the past couple of years, with large numbers of fighters coming from EU member nations. The early signs are that the US involvement will only help bolster those numbers further.
That may be particularly true of Americans, as a comparatively small number of US fighters have actually joined ISIS, as opposed to the influx of fighters from nations like France and Germany. ISIS leaders seem to understand much better than the Obama Administration that the US involvement in the war is a game-changer on the ground, and not the good kind like you’d want.
ISIS got its first start as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and its early growth was almost entirely a function of the US occupation of Iraq. The group began shrinking after the US pullout, and only started regrowing when they transitioned into Syria.
With the Syria War still giving ISIS a huge amount of recruitment potential and the takeover of broad swathes of both Iraq and Syria giving them unrivaled credibility, the return of the US military is throwing yet more gasoline on the already raging fire.