Islamic State Really Is On The Run

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Islamic State Really Is On The Run

Despite the attack in New York City an impor­tant new analy­sis demon­strates that the ter­ror­ists’ effec­tive­ness has been seri­ously affected in the past year and is likely to con­tinue to fade as a sig­nif­i­cant threat.

That doesn’t mean that the world can be less vig­i­lant, but it does mean that once again the media can cre­ate a meme to down­play a major U.S. victory.

The well-​regarded Ter­ror­ism Analy­sis & Research Con­sor­tium, bet­ter known as TRAC, released an analy­sis of IS attacks, which shows that the orga­ni­za­tion has been far less effec­tive in recent months.

TRAC reported: “IS’s high­light­ing of ter­ror attacks against civil­ians in West­ern Europe – and the main­stream media’s obses­sion with those attacks – serves to obscure impor­tant aspects of Islamic State strat­egy. While more than 200 claimed attacks in just over 100 days appears impres­sive to IS sup­port­ers and ter­ri­fy­ing to the world at large, a closer look at the claims in their entirety reveals as much about Islamic State’s lim­i­ta­tions as its aspi­ra­tions.” For more infor­ma­tion, see https://​www​.track​ingter​ror​ism​.org/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​c​o​n​s​i​d​e​r​i​n​g​-​c​l​a​i​m​e​d​-​a​t​t​a​c​k​s​-​i​s​l​a​m​i​c​-​s​t​a​t​e​s​-​h​i​d​d​e​n​-​n​a​r​r​a​t​i​v​e​/​i​n​t​r​o​d​u​c​t​i​o​n​-​s​u​m​m​e​r​-​2017​-​e​x​ecuti

Here are some of the impor­tant findings:

• The pro­jec­tion of increas­ing global reach is inac­cu­rate. Just three coun­tries accounted for 175 of 222 attacks (nearly 80 per­cent) dur­ing last sum­mer: Philip­pines (99 claims), Afghanistan (43 claims), and Egypt (33 claims). TRAC con­tends that these places, which receive scant West­ern atten­tion, rep­re­sent the nar­ra­tive of IS future territory.

• To nar­row the gap even fur­ther, of the three coun­tries that hold 80 per­cent of the claims, just three areas in those coun­tries accounted for 115 of 222 attacks in the sum­mer (more than 50 per­cent): Marawi city in Philip­pines’ Autonomous Region of Mus­lim Major­ity or ARMM (67), Nan­garhar province in Afghanistan (26), and Egypt’s Upper Sinai (22).

• Dur­ing the sum­mer, IS could not claim repeat attacks in 10 coun­tries that had been attacked in 2015 and 2016. Bangladesh went from six claims in 2016 to zero in 2017. Saudi Ara­bia had three in 2015 and no sub­se­quent sum­mer repeats. Ger­many had just two total claims, com­ing in sum­mer 2016. The inabil­ity to repeat attacks in the same loca­tion sum­mer after sum­mer high­lights the Islamic State’s lack of sustainability.

• For last sum­mer, the United King­dom topped the newcomer’s list with three high-​profile attacks. These three attacks received mas­sive inter­na­tional atten­tion, espe­cially in the West­ern media.

• Out of the 32 total coun­tries attacked dur­ing the past three years, only four coun­tries — France, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt — were attacked three sum­mers in a row. Even with the recent spate of claims in the U.K., France has been, by far the coun­try hard­est hit by IS in Europe.

Sim­ply put, IS has been unable to launch attacks out­side the Mid­dle East and the Philip­pines except in rare instances in Britain and France. The Philip­pines gov­ern­ment recently cleared out an IS strong­hold there.

The dis­rup­tion of the IS finan­cial and geo­graph­i­cal power in the Mid­dle East has had a pro­found effect. More­over, the destruc­tion of the command-​and-​control and pro­pa­ganda cen­ters of IS in Syria and Iraq will make it more dif­fi­cult to entice fol­low­ers to launch attacks out­side of the Mid­dle East.

Al-​Qaeda saw its influ­ence drop dra­mat­i­cally after the United States closed its oper­a­tional head­quar­ters in Afghanistan. That is what is likely to hap­pen with IS.

Again, that doesn’t mean the West can ignore the Islamist threat, par­tic­u­larly after the recent attack in New York City. It does mean that a con­tin­u­ous and con­certed offen­sive against extrem­ists does work.

Despite the attack in New York City an important new analysis demonstrates that the terrorists’ effectiveness has been seriously affected in the past year and is likely to continue to fade as a significant threat.

That doesn’t mean that the world can be less vigilant, but it does mean that once again the media can create a meme to downplay a major U.S. victory.

The well-regarded Terrorism Analysis & Research Consortium, better known as TRAC, released an analysis of IS attacks, which shows that the organization has been far less effective in recent months.

TRAC reported: “IS’s highlighting of terror attacks against civilians in Western Europe–and the mainstream media’s obsession with those attacks–serves to obscure important aspects of Islamic State strategy. While more than 200 claimed attacks in just over 100 days appears impressive to IS supporters and terrifying to the world at large, a closer look at the claims in their entirety reveals as much about Islamic State’s limitations as its aspirations.” For more information, see https://www.trackingterrorism.org/article/considering-claimed-attacks-islamic-states-hidden-narrative/introduction-summer-2017-executi

Here are some of the important findings:

• The projection of increasing global reach is inaccurate. Just three countries accounted for 175 of 222 attacks (nearly 80 percent) during last summer: Philippines (99 claims), Afghanistan (43 claims), and Egypt (33 claims). TRAC contends that these places, which receive scant Western attention, represent the narrative of IS future territory.

• To narrow the gap even further, of the three countries that hold 80 percent of the claims, just three areas in those countries accounted for 115 of 222 attacks in the summer (more than 50 percent): Marawi city in Philippines’ Autonomous Region of Muslim Majority or ARMM (67), Nangarhar province in Afghanistan (26), and Egypt’s Upper Sinai (22).

• During the summer, IS could not claim repeat attacks in 10 countries that had been attacked in 2015 and 2016. Bangladesh went from six claims in 2016 to zero in 2017. Saudi Arabia had three in 2015 and no subsequent summer repeats. Germany had just two total claims, coming in summer 2016. The inability to repeat attacks in the same location summer after summer highlights the Islamic State’s lack of sustainability.

• For last summer, the United Kingdom topped the newcomer’s list with three high-profile attacks. These three attacks received massive international attention, especially in the Western media.

• Out of the 32 total countries attacked during the past three years, only four countries—France, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt—were attacked three summers in a row. Even with the recent spate of claims in the U.K., France has been, by far the country hardest hit by IS in Europe.

Simply put, IS has been unable to launch attacks outside the Middle East and the Philippines except in rare instances in Britain and France. The Philippines government recently cleared out an IS stronghold there.

The disruption of the IS financial and geographical power in the Middle East has had a profound effect. Moreover, the destruction of the command-and-control and propaganda centers of IS in Syria and Iraq will make it more difficult to entice followers to launch attacks outside of the Middle East.

Al-Qaeda saw its influence drop dramatically after the United States closed its operational headquarters in Afghanistan. That is what is likely to happen with IS.

Again, that doesn’t mean the West can ignore the Islamist threat, particularly after the recent attack in New York City. It does mean that a continuous and concerted offensive against extremists does work.