April 25, 2017
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Expanding footprints
ISIS is becoming a global threat The recent surge of terrorist strikes, in Orlando, Jordan, Lebanon, Istanbul, Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and now southern France is a sign of ISIS’s desperation to reassert its relevance, in the face of its string of losses on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. With ISIS’s call for attacks in the coming months in Europe and America, the likelihood of an ISIS directed, enabled, or inspired attack is high. There is no denial that American airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish ground assaults, and the occasional raid by US Special Forces have lately thrashed ISIS forces, severed their supply lines, and recaptured some of their strongholds. However, the spectrum of terrorism is widening and now includes attacks loosely inspired by the Islamic State, those carried out by its affiliate groups and attacks directed by the group’s leadership. All have drawn public condemnation and concern, but the plots organized and executed by the Islamic State usually prompt greater concern from the authorities. The group’s ideology, spread widely through social media and propaganda videos, appears to have inspired a scourge of violence for more than a year: including the shooting in December in San Bernardino, Calif.; the mass killings at a gay nightclub in Orlando; and the deadly attack at a cafe in Bangladesh. These were in addition to attacks that top Islamic State operatives apparently planned directly, like the P
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