Counter-Terrorism: The Bigger Problem

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April 10, 2016: Although ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is praising the recent Paris and Belgium terror attacks by Islamic terrorists trained in Syria and the continued use of suicide bombers against Shia and non-Moslem civilians in the Middle East, there is actually little to celebrate. The reality is that the ISIL base in Syria and Iraq is under heavy attack and has suffered considerable losses since late 2014. About 20 percent of the territory ISIL held in late 2014 has been lost. Actually even more has been lost but ISIL then “conquered” more unpopulated territory to make up for the loses. Replacing the 25,000 thousand ISIL men killed since 2014 has been more difficult because new recruits are harder to come by. Even though ISIL doesn’t release totals for their losses they do often let families know their son has been martyred for the cause and even if ISIL doesn’t notify families friends of the diseased have access to cell phones and will often relay the news that their son has been martyred and gone to paradise. Collecting samples of that data enabled Western intelligence agencies to make an accurate estimate of ISIL personnel losses. This has the expected impact on potential recruits back home, who have become less enthusiastic about going off to Syria.

Another reason for declines in new recruits have been money problems. The relentless coalition (of Western and Arab states) efforts to destroy ISIL finances has succeeded in reducing ISIL income by over 40 percent. This means less cash to pay ISIL personnel (especially technical experts recruited locally) or provide cash for recruiters in Europe to pay travel expenses of new recruits.

This is the same things that happened to al Qaeda after the 2007 defeat in Iraq. That another major Islamic terrorist organization should arise seven years later in the same area is unusual but not unheard of. This cycle of Islamic religious fanaticism breaking out then burning out has been occurring for over a thousand years. There is more of it now because of better technology (for killing, communicating and moving pong distances) and all that oil wealth in the Middle East. It is not something Moslems are inclined to brag about but the historical record of such breakouts is pretty clear about its existence. That is a problem no one, Moslem or non-Moslem wants to talk about and that is a larger problem that the Islamic terrorism itself.

 

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