Overview: The Middle East is fracturing. Arab uprisings and military interventions across the region have caused civil wars and spawned terrorist groups. Stuck in the middle of it all is Saudi Arabia. Confronted by extremism on all sides, the desert kingdom is building massive fences at its borders with Iraq and Yemen to keep out terrorist organizations that it may have had a hand in creating. Suroosh Alvi travels to Saudi Arabia to see how America’s staunchest Arab ally is defending itself – and how it may be fanning the flames of global militancy.
In the summer of 2014, a group calling themselves the Islamic State, or ISIS, shocked the world by taking over large territories in Iraq and Syria, and committing headline-grabbing atrocities in the process. In the face of international condemnation, would-be fighters from Western countries flocked to join ISIS in their self-styled utopia. Gianna Toboni travels to Europe to meet some of the young men drawn to ISIS’s call, and visits with American Navy strike pilots working to roll back the Islamic State’s gains.
Expectations: I’m repeating myself here but, I like how VICE can encapsulate everything you need to know in a short half hour. With this double dose of the latest from the Middle East we should get the enormously complex political situation of the region in focus once again. And who better to handle that than Suroosh in my opinion. We don’t often hear about any allies in that part of the world so how Saudi Arabia is faring is a rare story as most of the news is attentive to the extremists. We will ,of course, get that side of it as well in the second segment. Right about now we need the trailer.
Gut Reaction: Both “Enemies At the Gates” by Vice Co-Founder Suroosh Avi and “Global Jihad” by Gianna Toboni tell a complete picture of some deadly aspects of the whole situation. A lot of this has been reported by other media but, as always, VICE goes in deep. First there is the notion that there is an influx of weaponry flowing into the region. It is the last place we need old war surplus. America itself is the supplier. Then there is the notion that an influx of people from other countries who share in the extremist philosophy are joining the cause or jihad. There seems to be an endless supply of both and it is accumulating in the wrong places.
Now I know viewers have their own issues or are more worried about what is happening in America as a whole, but this issue is volatile and a threat to the world as we know it. Dare we question if Saudi Arabia is a loyal ally? Dare we think that there is no change that ISIS can take over Mecca? Don’t ignore the consequences of that possibility. Remember Suroosh made the analogy himself that Mecca is to Muslims what The Vatican is to Catholics. Dare we think extremists cannot surmount a sizable enough of a force to really worry us? Gianna’s part of the report clearly indicates their intent and their fervor and one rebel stated that the U. S. is what’s driving them to radicalism. This report should scare us. It is not in the least sensationalistic. We have read or heard the news it needs this country’s utmost attention.
In Conclusion: Yet again a large global issue with no real resolve . I repeat what VICE concludes from this. We need to say attentive. It can easily escalate into a larger global threat. Plus, we need to stop feeding the monster. To wrap up it is only right that Suroosh Alvi gets The Debrief.
So, Saudi Arabia doesn’t mind terrorism around the neighborhood as long as it profitable (selling of used military stuff) and it doesn’t cross into its borders? Great.
Next Week: Season 3 Episode 13 of VICE debuts FRIDAY, JUNE 19 at 11:00pm. The installment looks at Afghanistan’s war with the Taliban and religious tensions spiraling out of control in France. Until then – Peace.