Der Spiegel makes the case that it was only after the brutality of the Islamic militants of ISIS was shown to the world that any concerted effort has been engaged to understand and combat the threat it poses to the world.
“It was only this threat of genocide that moved the global community to act. Countries around the world quickly united in the battle against IS, by far the world’s most brutal, most successful — and most sinister — jihadist troop,” the staff of the German newspaper write.
And it is a threat that was unavoidable.
They continue: “In the past few years, the greatest terrorist threat since al-Qaida has slowly emerged. But the development was not unavoidable. There are two significant contributing factors that have allowed large parts of Iraq and Syria to descend into jihadist territory. One is the civil war in Syria, which enabled fighters from Iraq and the rest of the world to gain experience in war, it helped them find donors and it gave them a cause to fight for. The international community’s delayed reaction in responding to the Syrian conflict also played a role.”
The level of ISIS’ brutality emerged this afternoon when video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley was posted on the Internet as a warning to Western nations.
Carol E. B. Choksy and Jamsheed K. Choksy write in World Affairs Journal that US bombing of Islamic State strongholds inside Iraq are unlikely to have a lasting impact, just as years of drone strikes against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere have failed to end those groups’ territorial control.
And while ISIS’ ability to strike beyond the Middle East may decline, they write that “American action against the Islamic State in Iraq has heightened its appeal; militants from other Islamist organizations, including in the West, are now flocking to it via Syria. And, as witnessed elsewhere, groups like the Islamic State are able to ride out considerable military punishment from American and European forces and come back more virulent than ever.”
Related Event: On August 14th, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith moderated an expert panel featuring Michael Doran, Hillel Fradkin, and Brian Katulis to discuss whether non-state Sunni extremism or Iran constitutes the major strategic threat to American interests in the region.