- - Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Islamic State, also referred to as ISIS, is on the rampage across the Arab world, making a mockery of anything resembling law and order and human decency. They have engaged in what amounts to an orgy of terror and violence from the Fertile Crescent to North Africa and are now threatening Europe. In fact they have done much more than threaten; they, or agents sympathetic to their cause, have already carried out attacks in a number of European cities.

Their level of brutality and lust for blood have not been seen since the hordes of Goths and Visigoths were at the gates of Europe. Their intent is on a scale that can be compared to that of the Nazis. Give them a bit more time and they may well get there and surpass the Nazis.

To date they have murdered tens of hundreds of people in all impunity. They have enslaved and sold into slavery hundreds of women and young girls they have captured along with cities, towns and villages in Syria and in Iraq–primarily Christians and Yazidis. The world has not seen such behavior since slavery was officially abolished.

They have burned alive a capture Jordanian pilot. They murdered journalists and aid workers. They have executed teenage boys simply for watching soccer games on television. They have thrown a number of men accused of homosexuality off rooftops, and the latest reports speaks of cutting off the hands of women who use cellular telephones.

On Monday they executed 21 Egyptians simply because they were Christians.
The Western powers, possibly with exception of the Italians, don’t seem to realize the magnitude of this threat. After decapitating the 21 Egyptians, a member of IS pointed to the waters of the Mediterranean, and in English said they were coming to Rome.  “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission,” said the man, pointing his knife at the Mediterranean Sea.

Rome and the Italians are right to be worried. From Libya, where IS is now operating, to the shores of Italy is a short hop, skip and a jump. NATO’s southern flank is open to attack from North Africa and there is little doubt that IS has infiltrated scores of sleeper agents along with the boatloads of immigrants that are literally flooding Italy’s southern shores on a quasi-daily basis.

Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano called for NATO to intervene in Libya. “ISIS is at the door,” he was quoted as saying. “There is no time to waste.”

Indeed, time is precious, as IS seems to be expanding, and the threat to Western civilization is as real today as it was when the Goths threatened Rome.

Egypt, which shares a border with Libya, on Tuesday called for a foreign military intervention in Libya where the Egyptian air force went into action Monday in retaliation for the killing of 21 Christian Egyptians by the Islamist.

NATO should consider itself at war. Its territory has already been attacked and violated in France, in Belgium, in Denmark, and it has been infiltrated by sleeper cells and other potential attackers waiting to spring into action in every country.

These acts of aggression against Western nations and/or their citizens by the Islamic State should not be considered as terrorist acts because they are attacks perpetrated by a state (even if they are the only ones to recognize it as such) and therefore fall under the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war and the treatment of prisoners of war.

So just how measured should the response to IS’s provocations be? Given that the NATO countries are being attacked and threatened not by a group or a militia, but by a state, the repost should fit the crimes and threat levels posed by the Islamic State.

Claude Salhani is senior editor at Trend Agency and a political analyst.

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