Is this the twilight zone?

Don’t know about you, but I’m experiencing a discomforting sense of unreality. Our once familiar world, where we more or less knew the rules, has changed into what one of my friends on social media described as “a creepy Disneyland,” except it’s infinitely creepier than Disney-like.

Have the pod people arrived to invade humanity’s brains? Our planet is supposed to be evolving but instead it’s being transported back to the Dark Ages. No need for Hollywood horror movies anymore. Real life in some parts of the world is more horrific than even the most creative script writer could dream-up.

If I had told you a few years ago that the day would come when some 10,000–15,000 crazed terrorists, operating under the faux banner of an Islamic State (IS), could grab massive swathes of Syria and Iraq to create a caliphate from which to threaten neighboring countries, Europe and the US, you might have been calling the paper to send men in white coats to cart me away.

If I had told you that the US president would stand back permitting those terrorists to lop off heads, nail their detractors to crosses, commit mass executions, bury people alive, abduct women to be sold in a slave market and trigger a Masada-type scenario on an arid mountain top where families fleeing from their doom resort to cutting themselves to drink their own blood and throw their children off the peaks to save them from dying of thirst, you would have thought, now she’s really lost it.

All this is happening right now, right in front of our noses. And what is the fabled international community with its bombs and missiles and F16s and tanks doing about it? Nothing much! Sure, the US Air Force has dropped a few bombs ostensibly to protect US citizens and to keep the IS away from its Kurdish client state.

And Obama did nobly promise to rescue the Yezidis before changing his mind the next day. Only 2,000 left, he said. No, there’s at least 10,000 still up there, countered an annoying Yezidi spokesperson. After all, what are 8,000 lives between friends?’ Once again, the Leader of the Free World suffered from a mega case of cold feet, just as he did following his promised intervention in Syria. US public opinion wasn’t with him; American lives aren’t at stake, so why bother.

Lest we forget, Iraq has finally unglued Nuri Al-Maliki from his chair and has now got itself a new prime minister! Never mind that this new face is actually an old face covering a mind that holds to the exact same ideology as his predecessor. What doesn’t Obama understand about the word ‘emergency’? America broke it, but has no appetite to fix it. Instead, the White House is pinning its hopes on Sunni tribes to take down the terrorists; those same sickening creatures that scared Iraqi soldiers into hasty retreat and even members of the ‘fearless,’ ‘battle-hardened’ Kurdish Peshmerga heading for the hills.

Oh, and the UN Security Council did meet a few days ago to warn any country funding this barbaric band of primitives or failing to stem recruitment would face sanctions. Well, that’s all right then, isn’t it! All done and dusted. I’m sure ‘Caliph’ Baghadi is trembling in his Rolex as I write. “Run brothers! Fold up your flags. The UN has spoken.” That has to be the dumbest UN resolution ever when it’s well known that the IS is the wealthiest militant group in history, its coffers believed to hold billions of dollars and its armory replete with ‘Made in the USA’ weapons.

When will those who can—or said they could—get it into their thick heads that this is not a Syrian problem; it’s not an Iraqi problem. It’s a global problem. It’s an escalating crisis that if not dealt with double quick has the potential to impact nations far afield, any place where discontented Muslim youth feel marginalized or are angered over foreign policy blunders, are vulnerable to the ‘romanticism’ of a caliphate with faint echoes of Islam’s golden years.

Those young people are being ruthlessly targeted on social media sites; and even in London’s Oxford Street where fliers were recently handed out to passersby. Wooly headed girls recruited online, lured by IS’ female propagandists who sugarcoat the joys of raising new fighters, are heading for the airport attracted by the thought of domestic bliss in the arms of a militant. Sixteen-year-old British twins disappeared before popping up in Syria, hoping to find militant husbands.

Another of those simpletons from Holland wrote “Muslims do not want to be humiliated in a kuffar (infidel) country . . . I left my country with a big smile and I don’t care that the government doesn’t want me back.”

The Spanish police detained a 14-year-old and a 19-year-old girl trying to get into Morocco from the Spanish territory of Melilla en route to joining the IS; the FBI arrested a 19-year-old nurse from Denver on her way to Syria and, in Australia, the seven-year-old son of IS’ Omar Al-Shishani was snapped proudly using both hands to hold up a severed head. He’s such a good, lovable kid, said his uncle. Maybe I’m old fashioned but in my day, lovable kids played with train sets not bloodied heads.

There’s a glimmer of hope yet. At least one Western leader appears to have opened his eyes. Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, has called for “a firm security response” adding that the IS cannot be removed by bombs alone. He warns that if the onslaught isn’t urgently stemmed, it will “target us on the streets of Britain” and Europe will face a “poisonous” state on the Mediterranean’s shores. It may be reassuring to know that the penny’s finally dropped, but that’s where the good news ends.

“We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology, which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime,” Cameron writes.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

2 Responses to Is this the twilight zone?

  1. Is this the twilight zone – that the Western-beloved Israel Occupiers can get away with GENOCIDE of Indigenous Palestinian Muslims including under collective punishment of mothers, pregnant women and children of Palestinian Resistance fighters, falsely labelled as ‘terrorists’?!

    Or is this the twilight zone – that CIA/Mossad/UK can simply create the most vicious terrorists groups called ISIS/ISIL, as revealed by Snowden (see – , Edward Snowden: ISIS created by Mossad, US and UK, July 25, 2014 by orthodoxviews), and then for them to justify blaming such terrorism on Islam and further invasion of OIL-GAS-RICH Muslim countries?! Pure CANNIBA(A)L evil!

  2. John Roberts from UK

    If we would just leave the Near East / Middle East alone and stop meddling in their affairs then maybe things would improve a little.

    These militant religious groups, together with their callous secular governments, have come into being as a direct or indirect result of western interference in the affairs of the region and it seems entirely hypocritical of western governments and their media to excoriate them when we consider that some of these same groups were deliberately created (and continue to be supported) by western governments.

    Certain countries with oil, gas and other strategic interests in the Middle East have very good reasons for devising pretexts for military intervention in the region and demonising the religion of Islamby creating or supporting extremist, militant groups that espouse a fundamentalist or puritan version of Islam is one way they do this.