ISIS is a terror threat, not a military threat

ISIS proved that it’s a serious international terror threat Friday, claiming responsibility for three terror attacks in distant places. That said, it’s worthwhile looking deeper, as my friend Nancy Youssef does in this fine article. She outlines the differences among the three attacks–a lone wolf in one place, an assault on a tourism site in another, and a bombing at a Shiite mosque in the third.

Was it all orchestrated from a central location in some den of evil in the Middle East? No. Were the terrorists trained in some secret camp in Afghanistan? No. The only thing that links them is the claim of responsibility–after the fact. ISIS is not al-Qaida, which is an organization with a hierarchy and a decision-making procedure. ISIS is an ad-hoc wisp in the wind, attracting disaffected Muslims and encouraging them to strike against real and imagined enemies.

Nancy and me in Washington

Nancy and me in Washington

I’m planning to analyze this on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh Monday morning. Imagine my delight when I saw what Nancy wrote. Then I remembered…no surprise, we discussed these issues just a few weeks ago at her favorite restaurant in Washington, and as usual, we came to similar conclusions.

Should the West combat this threat with airstrikes and ground forces in the Mideast? Obviously not. If anything, that will make the problem worse, reinforcing the image that the West is the real enemy. What’s needed here is a concentration of forces toward rooting out those three types of terrorism displayed on a single day. How? I don’t have all the answers, but I’m sure that if the West devotes as much time, effort and resources to that fight as it has to the futile and counter-productive military effort against ISIS–answers will be found.

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