Iraqi Army - 2,000,000 Soldiers (700,000 in reserve) Syrian Army - 220,000 Soldiers Kurdish Peshmerga - 200,000 fighters People's Protection Units (Kurdish YPG) - 80,000 fighters Syrian Democratic Forces - 50,000 fighters Hezbollah - 30,000+ fighters
This is a list of a combined force of nearly 3.5 million Muslims who make up the overwhelming armed opposition against ISIS, Al Qaeda and other Salafist extremists groups in the current conflicts around the middle east.
The list shows the number of Muslims that are banded together and blamed for any terrorists attack around the world (even if many of them have exterminated extremists in their tens of thousands) and are forgotten every single time someone shouts out "Why aren't Muslims doing more to stop terrorism." The fact is, they are. And the amount of blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice they are going through in order to defeat the most extreme element of their religion is staggering.
If I were to include Turkey's military, (though there is debate around how much opposition they truly form against ISIS) Jordan's Air Force, Iran's armed forces, Iraqi Shia't militias and the Afghan national army who are currently battling both ISIS and Taliban in the southern regions of Afghanistan, this figure would easily go up by 1 or 2 million.
Now if we list the estimated size of strength on the other side;
ISIS - 200,000 (Kurdish claims in 2015) Taliban - 60,000 Al Nusra Front (Supported by Al Qaeda) - 30,000 Boko Haram - 20,000
Even if we were to double these figures for the plethora of other small to medium bands of other Jihadist organisations dotted around North Africa and other parts of the Arab world, it still wouldn't satisfy the representation they have in the media when in fact they are overwhelming targeted, killed and hated amongst the Muslim populations across the continent.
Now I am not going to tell you that Islam is the religion of peace, like the other Abrahamic religions it has many chapters that do indeed promote hatred and violence that I find deplorable. Nor am I going to sit here and tell you that there are hardly any extremists in the world. Their clearly are, but the difference I have with many of you, is that I believe, from evidence and research, that Moderate muslims do exist. They may not take to streets with banners and signs, but they are most definitely killing the wahhabists in their thousands, and for that I am thankful for them. I am not going to band them under the same blanket as the throat slicers, the beheaders and murderers, and I am not going to use the word "Muslim" lightly, as if it isn't a term that represents hundreds if not thousands of offshoots, philosophies, schools and differing thought, across a massive variation of culture, language, ethnicity and country.
We need to start getting hard on Wahhabism. This is the school of thought behind nearly every single Islamist attack you see around the world. An extreme, literal, ultra-orthodox version of Islam that is backed by Saudi Arabia or a Gulf state. The most irritating thing I find is that Christianity is allowed the luxury of being broken into many different denominations and sects, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, West Boro, Orthodox, etc but we spit out the word Islam and subscribe the attacker/perpetrators of whatever incident as simply "Muslim."
It really isn't that simple. Donald Trump chose to ban Muslims from every single country apart from the biggest financer of global terrorism in the world, the country that has signed the biggest arms deal with America in recent history, worth over $50 billion. A country that has done nothing to stop it's brutal interpretation of Islam, (it in fact spends over $300 million a year spreading the ideology of Wahhabism) yet reaps all of the financial rewards, peace treaties and arms from western counterparts who are meant to be against political Islamism.
Syrian and Iraqi civilians had been raised Muslim for all of their lives, yet under occupation of ISIS and Al Nusra, they had never seen such strict interpretations of the religion they grew up with. They had never grown up in a society which doesn't allow you to smoke, compulsory beard growing, where women have to be completely covered up; all traits of a Gulf/Saudi type tribal and Bedouin society, alien to that of Iraq and Syria. It's not only conservatives who have failed to make this differentiation, liberals do it consistently and also use the "one size fits all" Islam and Muslim term, when the reality is a lot deeper.
I'm just tired of lies constantly being blown around by society on this subject in a festival of ignorance. The reality of the situation is that some 30,000 + Iraqi Army Soldiers have died fighting on our side, another 10,000 ANA Afghan Muslims have contributed 6X more KIA to our wars but get virtually no notoriety for their parts. Thousands more are locked in a struggle against these jihadists groups, yet instead fighting the monster together we alienate them and millions more Muslims from a healthy and cooperative relationship each time we make general statements about nearly 2 billion people.