Wednesday, August 12, 2015

ISIS affiliate kills a Croatian national in Egypt. AP.

An ISIS fighter with 30 year old Croatian Tomislav Salopek. AP/Yahoo.

An ISIS affiliate called Sinai Province has killed a 30 year old Croatian national named Tomislav Salopek in Egypt. AP. The murder is the first committed by ISIS in Egypt of a foreign national. ISIS killed the man because Croatia has voiced support of both Egypt's anti-terror efforts and the Kurds fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Salopek was married with two children and was in Egypt working as a surveyor for a French company. He was abducted west of Cairo.  Sinai Province had released a video showing Salopek and demanded the release of Muslim women caught up in the crackdown on extremist groups in Egypt. The latest murder is part of a long series of murders of western nationals by ISIS. Sinai province has gained ground in Egypt and are a major threat to the region. 

My Comment:
I hadn't heard that ISIS had captured another Western prisoner, so this comes as a surprise to me. The fact that the murder happened in Egypt is also surprising. I knew that ISIS was very active in the Sinai, but I did not know that they were targeting westerners there. Usually, the press covers it when ISIS captures a westerner, but for whatever reason, I did not hear about it in this case. I either missed it, or the major media did. I'd believe either or perhaps everyone missed the story.

As for Croatia, this is obviously bad news for them. Losing a civilian in this way is always a hard pill to swallow. I am not sure how they will react, because I know very little about the country, but I do know that the Croatians did help America in our last two wars. That alone is enough to warrant my condolences for this incident. Perhaps this incident will spur them to send air strikes to Iraq or Syria? They do have a squadron of fairly ancient MIG-21's but I don't know how much they could accomplish anyways. 

For a time, it seemed that ISIS had moved away from killing westerners and other foreign nationals. Instead, they were focusing on finding new and creative ways to kill Iraqi and Syrian prisoners. Given how horrific some of those executions were, a simple decapitation almost seems merciful. By their standards at least. By any other standards they are pure evil. I think that it had more to do with them running out of prisoners then anything else. They knew their executions of Syrians and Iraqis wouldn't get as much attention as the deaths of westerners so they had to go all out. And since most Westerners now avoid Syria and Iraq, they haven't had much luck getting new ones to kill. That could change if they keep active in countries like Egypt. If this new abduction campaign becomes successful, then ISIS may again move away from their current model of bizarre and horrible executions and move back to simply killing westerners. 

This is also very bad news for Egypt's economy. Even though I know the chances of being attacked by ISIS in Egypt would be very low, I wouldn't want to take a vacation there right now. Egypt is reliant on tourism for much of its economy, and this could scare away tourists. And who could blame them? North Africa has a very extensive recent history of major attacks on westerners and tourists. The recent attacks in Tunisia are a good example of what could happen in Egypt. Even if nothing does happen for years, the damage has been done to North Africa's tourist trade. 

As for the Sinai peninsula itself, ISIS is on the march. I haven't heard of many major battles or terror attacks lately besides this one, but that doesn't mean the war is over. A while back the Sinai Province pulled off some rather spectacular raids targeting Egyptian security forces. Egypt fought back, but as far as I know, they aren't close to defeating them. 

My hope is that Egyptian security forces will redouble their efforts and destroy this branch of ISIS. I want the people that did this to be brought to justice, one way or another. Unfortunately, if it were that simple it probably would have happened already. Although Egypt is much more stable now then it was, ISIS tends to breed in countries with any instability whatsoever. The government does now have control of the country, but they face threats besides ISIS. There is always a risk of yet another counter revolution in Egypt and if that happens then ISIS will have a field day. 

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