- - Monday, June 16, 2014

Political opponents within the United States, and around the world, seem to be reaching a consensus about the need to work to take down the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties have publicly opened up to the idea of coordinating a response with Iran to the terrorist organization.

Iran, for its part, has reciprocated similarly, opening up the possibility of the two countries working with Iraq to deal with ISIS. NBC News has confirmed that the Iraqi government has asked for US assistance to combat the terrorist uprising.

The amalgam of these political powers would be historically unique, and would be difficult for ISIS to counteract. Representatives of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have stated an intention to attack and destroy Shiite shrines in Iraq, as well as assassinate the Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Sistani.

Far from being a sectarian fight between Shiites and Sunnis, ISIS has few allies, and has been denounced by members of its own sect.

In May, Saudi Arabia designated ISIS as a terrorist organization, banning and arresting its members in the kingdom. Al Qaeda banned ISIS from its ranks for being too extreme, and ISIS has been fighting against other terror groups in Syria. In Iraq today, Sunnis and Shias are teaming up to fight ISIS. The head of the Sunni Awakening Council in Iraq, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, openly supports the Iraqi government in opposing ISIS.

All this does much to contradict the narrative of “Shia Sunni civil war” in Iraq espoused by so many in the media.

“There’s no scientific polling, but I would say that a clear majority of Sunnis at the grassroots level believe in the political process … I can’t really give you numbers, but I can say that ISIS is not a majority on the grassroots level,” said Kirk Sowell, whom Vox News described as “a political risk analyst and expert on Iraqi politics. Mr. Sowell’s firm, Utcensis Risk Services, publishes Inside Iraqi Politics, a biweekly publication covering the latest developments in Iraq.”

Over the weekend, numerous party leaders and government officials took to the media to emphasize the danger posed by ISIS to the United States and the rest of the world, and the benefits of working with Iran to resolve the crisis in Iraq.

“The claim by ISIS that it has massacred 1,700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits in Tikrit is horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Iraq and Syria combined are going to be the staging area for the next 9/11 if we don’t do anything about it,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham, South Carolina Republican, on a recent episode of CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

He later said, “The Iranians can provide some assets to make sure Baghdad doesn’t fall. We need to co-ordinate with the Iranians… “

The senator’s remarks on the matter show the seriousness of the threat posed by ISIS, as previously Mr. Graham led calls in opposing Iran.

“We are watching right the worst case scenario happen” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger Illinois Republican, on the same show, repeating “This is the worst case scenario.”

“Clearly, if they can get this sanctuary in the northeast, in Syria, in Iraq, it makes this, in effect, a privileged sanctuary to attack the United States,” said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, to NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Former acting CIA Director Mike Morell told CBS’s This Morning that ISIS had two goals: “One is to set up that caliphate and, it’s not just in Iraq and in Syria… Their second goal then is to use that as a safe haven to attack the United States.”

On the other side of the aisle, President Obama said in a statement that ISIS “could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.” He added “What we’ve seen indicates Iraq’s going to need more help, from us and from the international community.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced “whenever the United States makes a move on the ISIS, then we can think about cooperation with them in Iraq.”

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