Is the enemy of your enemy your friend? No, even when your enemy is ISIS. Not if the enemy of that enemy is Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Because Ebola is a virus, and viruses can’t be your friend.
In what’s probably a search engine optimizer’s dream headline, reports emerged recently that the Islamic State – or ISIS – has been struggling to contain an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Mosul, even as the Islamic militant group struggles against the United States, the Iraqi government, and other forces in the area. The New York Post picked up the story late last week, saying that the World Health Organization is investigating the possibility that some ISIS militants have come down with Ebola.
The report apparently emerged from Al-Sabah, an Iraqi pro-government newspaper, which claimed that a number of ISIS fighters were being treated for Ebola. Just how would the deadly virus have made its way to Iraq? Reportedly, Ebola hitched a ride into the fertile crescent along with foreign extremists from Africa, who are said to have come to the country to help ISIS in its fight against all of its enemies.
“The Ebola virus could be in any area in the world,” one Iraqi health ministry spokesperson told the media recently, “including Mosul, where they don’t have the measures or techniques to diagnose the virus. They are incapable to detect it.”
Before your schadenfreude meters explode at the notion of the decapitation-happy ISIS militants now having to deal with a bit of Ebola, though, know that there’s no confirmation from any ministries or world organizations that Ebola has actually made its way into Iraq, in ISIS-held areas, or anywhere else.
As Gawker points out, the Iraqi government might have something of an interest in tying ISIS to the Ebola virus. The notion that ISIS jihadists might be crawling with Ebola could well dissuade the more gullible potential jihadists from heading on to ISIS-controlled areas. At the very least, it could convince people that ISIS might not be as good as it says at keeping people in its fledgling “caliphate” safe.
Of course, it’s unlikely that we’ll have any word on the existence or spread of Ebola in ISIS-controlled areas any time soon. In Mosul, the militants are said to have executed 11 doctors over the past few weeks, so it’s not terribly likely that anybody would be getting the checkups necessary to spot Ebola if symptoms were to manifest.
[Lead image via New York Post.]