There has been little notice of the president’s insistent use of the acronym “ISIL” to describe the Sunni forces currently rampaging across Iraq, executing Iraqi military and creating a new massive refugee population in an already unstable area.
With the exception of Reuters and now the Associated Press, most news organizations have not referred to ISIL until President Obama began using the term, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But when Obama used the term 5 times on June13, and 16 times in his commencement speech at West Point on June 19th, he was using his bully pulpit to make a point.
Most, like this publication, continue to use the widely accepted acronym ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or al-Sham, but both describe the same murderous organization. The difference is that the Levant describes a territory far greater than simply Iraq and Syria. It’s defined as this: The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey.
Why would Obama prefer ISIL? An “army” of that territorial magnitude takes the focus off the two countries that many believe define Obama’s continued failure in the Middle East.
Obama would rather eliminate the connection between the chaos in Iraq with his supporting of ISIS in Syria to fight against Assad.
Allegations are mounting that last year Obama approved the US to train Syrian rebels to fight against Assad only to see them later join ISIS and turn against the US-backed Iraqi Army. Obama wants to distance himself from his self created mess and yet another foreign policy blunder, so he now uses the term ISIL.