Why Obama calls ISIS 'ISIL'

Media analysts attempt to explain what message Obama wishes to give by insisting on using the term ISIL.

Hillel Fendel,

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Reuters

Media analysts continue to offer explanations as to what message U.S. President Barack Obama is giving by insisting on using the term ISIL.

Obama, alone among virtually all world leaders and most news media, consistently calls ISIS, the world's worst terrorist scourge, by the name ISIL. The former stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, while ISIL stands for The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is a much larger area than merely Syria, including also Cyprus, parts of Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and parts of Egypt.

Some analysts say that Obama is quite purposeful in his terminology. Chuck Todd, of NBC's Meet the Press, has opined that "since the Obama administration has shown much more willingness to attack ISIS in Iraq than they have to attack them in Syria, they seem to have decided it is in their best interest to leave the 'S' out of the name."

On the other hand, Harris Faulkner of Fox News, agreed with those who said that Obama is “tipping his hat” to ISIS by calling them ISIL. “Levant is a bigger territory,” she said. “That’s why they want to embrace that name and it includes many, many more countries than just Syria.”

Analyst Liz Peek of The Fiscal Times wrote last year that by referring to such large territorial magnitude, the U.S. President "takes the focus off the two countries that many believe define Obama’s continued failure in the Middle East."

"Most likely," Peek continued, "he would rather eliminate the connection between the chaos in Iraq with his inaction in Syria."Interestingly, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump said – well before he became the front-runner in the race – that “there’s a reason” why Obama prefers to use “ISIL” – but he declined to reveal what it was.

According to Israel advocate media personality Ari Abramowitz agrees with Amil Imani, the Iranian-American writer who wrote an op-ed on the subject for Arutz Sheva, and says: "The main difference is that Israel is included when you call it ISIL, whereas ISIS keeps the conflict [limited] to Iraq and Syria… This allows [Obama] to tie Israel to the conflict and blame Israel for it, and to say that ISIS is fueled by Palestinian suffering, etc. In addition, [by using this terms] Obama is actually saying that our land in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem – belongs to the Islamic State!"




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