November 25, 2015:
As much as ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant) is demonized for its savagery it is not the most prolific killer among current terrorist groups. Boko Haram, a Nigerian group that models itself on the Taliban and envies the greater media attention ISIL receives has killed more people in the last few years than ISIL. In Syria most of the 300,000 killed in the violence since 2011 were victims of the government forces and non-ISIL rebels who opposed him. The Assad clan always employed savage terrorism to maintain its power, even though the Assads professed a secular doctrine. In fact the Assads represented the Syrian branch of the Baath Party, the same party that Saddam Hussein belonged to. The Baath party split into Iraqi and Syrian branches in 1966. Saddam was pretty savage, but not as much as the Syrian branch. That was demonstrated once more after 2011 when the Assads targeted pro-rebel civilians with air bombardment and artillery to encourage them to leave the country, which millions did. ISIL never had the fire power the Assads possessed but did like to widely publicize the murders they did commit. Meanwhile Boko Haram was largely ignored, as most mayhem in Africa tends to be. ISIL got the headlines and that goes to show you the power of the media.