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Corridor Iraq Expert on Jouralist's Death
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - There was shock and horror in America on Wednesday after an American journalist was beheaded by ISIS militants in Iraq. The group said they killed James Foley in retaliation for US airstrikes in the country.
President Obama held a special news conference saying that the entire world is appalled by the execution. Foley went missing in late 2012 while covering the civil war in Syria.
The US intelligence community reviewed the video, and said it is authentic.
The murder of Foley is now the first direct act of terror by ISIS against the United States.
Kirkwood Social Science Professor, Jeremy Brigham, said the Sunnis, particularly those linked to ISIS, want their own state.
“This has been brewing for a whole century,” Brigham said.
He said the beheading of Foley has its roots in the post World War I fall of the Ottoman Empire. For 600 years it had been a Sunni run empire, then Britain and France took control of the states, taking away choice for the people. They simply did not have a choice what state they lived in. Brigham said things only got worse for the Sunnis in 2003 when the US went into Iraq.
“They threw out the Ba’athist government. Those were the Sunnis who were the leaders of Iraq,” Brigham said.
The situation in Syria only complicates things. The Sunnis are the majority in Syria, but don't control the government there. Brigham said ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is the Sunnis’ response. That unofficial state makes ISIS outside international law.
“We're in charge here, and we can do what we want,” Brigham said of the mindset of ISIS.
That ideology meant choosing to behead journalist, James Foley. It was a decision that did not sit well with two Kirkwood students that spoke with CBS2/FOX28.
“It really bothers me that someone would go through all that just to make a point,” Kirkwood Freshman Paul Caes said.
“To put it on YouTube, social media, it's really, really messed up,” Nick Johnson, also a Kirkwood Freshman, said of the video of Foley’s beheading.
While ISIS said they were retaliating for US airstrikes in Iraq, Caes and Johnson said what was done to Foley was unacceptable.
“It’s definitely wrong, and I think something should be done about it, nobody should be able to get away with it,” Johnson said.
“What does it take to stop these people?” Caes asked.
When Brigham was presented Caes’ question, he said he is not sure stopping ISIS is possible.
“The whole situation is so deeply broken there's no way the United States can fix it. The best the United States can do is protect some people like the Yazidis or Christians, to provide sanctuary for people who want to flee, or to help them with humanitarian aid,” Brigham said.
The ISIS militant who beheaded Foley said in the video that another American life hangs in the balance based on how President Obama responds to the beheading of Foley. He said journalist, Steven Sotloff, kidnapped in 2013, could die next.