1-8-2016 9-23-20 AMSometimes I am tempted to become discouraged when I see what is happening globally with ISIS/ISIL. From my perspective, the alarming actions of the Islamic State, whether in San Bernardino, Paris, or Oklahoma are consistent with the timeless mission of jihadists: to force (through the use of terror), involuntary conversion to Islam, or at the very least, require non-believers to pay the tribute tax. As an infant nation, we tried that for awhile, and for a season we were allocating 16% of the entire US budget to pay jihadists/pirates in Africa for “protection.” George Washington began the effort to put a stop to it, as did Jefferson and Adams, and the Barbary Wars were the result. It is not an exaggeration to say that we have been outwardly free of jihad for only around 180 years, however, the goal of worldwide control as administered by “the faithful” has never been abandoned. As King Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun”, and the present day term or application for this type of “protection-at-a-price” is called Mafia, Cartel, or Tong. 1-8-2016 9-23-28 AM There is some good news, though, on several fronts. The US led military operation that is going after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is called Operation Internal Resolve. In Iraq, the IS has lost about 40 percent of territory previously held near Baghdad and Ramadi, and about 20 percent of the territory held in Syria. The Kurds, who are always the unsung heroes, and who, I believe shall remain undaunted in their quest for freedom,, have pushed ISIS back from places in Northern Iraq. Other victories have been along the Turkish Syrian border, and last year, Tikrit was recaptured by Iraqi forces along with Shiite militias, strange bedfellows to be sure, but thankfully Tikrit has stood. It warms my heart to know that the city that produced Saddam Hussein is beating back the bullies once again. On the humanitarian front, close to 150 Iraqi Christians were rescued in December, and safely airlifted to Slovakia, as discussed at more length in the last Publisher’s Point. They have been the subject of a recently aired 20/20 episode, and their level of gratitude at having been freed is deeply touching. There is one more thing that is in the formation stage, and that is a small squad of warriors with a number of specialized skills that are going in to Northern Iraq independently of our military. While it makes me nervous from the standpoint of operational security to even see their pictures posted anywhere online, or know the tiniest thing about their identities, I have to trust that they know what they are doing if they released the shot of their team to the media. They consist of a female veteran, formerly with the US National Guard, who heads up what she calls the “Dream Team.” The rest of the crew has experience in combat medicine, marksmanship, intel, humanitarian assistance, and mechanics. Their specific purpose is to rescue wounded Kurdish fighters, using a truck for an ambulance. The former NG officer, whose “handle” is Kat Argo, has served in Afghanistan and near Russia. Her fields of expertise are in intel as well as journalism. The name of the Dream Team is Qalubna Ma'kum, which means, “Our heart is with you.” Words fail to express my gratitude for those like Kat and her crew; people who come out of retirement and refuse to give up when others think a situation is hopeless. Ultimately, it is exactly this spirit that will intimidate ISIS/ISIL into permanent oblivion, and while the work won’t be completed until the Millennium, the day will indeed come when “Mission Accomplished” will literally mean, “Well done, thou good and faithful servants.” By: Ali Elizabeth Turner 1-8-2016 9-23-44 AM

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