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ISIS and Terrorism's Worldwide Rampage

Updated on August 9, 2016
Bobby Shanahan profile image

Robert is a freelance writer/researcher in the Seattle, WA area. He covers current political, economic, and geopolitical news.

Aleppo, Syria, in ruins after years of shelling.
Aleppo, Syria, in ruins after years of shelling. | Source

The Religion of Peace Wages War

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia not too long ago, there were over 60 speakers on the first day. With Germany and France seemingly on fire and almost 1,300 terrorist attacks around the world in 2016 so far, not one of these speakers mentioned the Islamic State (ISIS) or terrorism in general. This lack of focus on national security and the real danger of creeping radical jihadism shows just where the Democratic Party’s priorities are.

On Saturday morning, the world woke up to yet another attack by an Islamist assailant. Two female police officers were stabbed in a machete attack in the Belgian city of Charleroi. A Twitter message said the officers were attacked by a person shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is Great.” Police said the attacker had been shot and killed. Thankfully, the two injured officers are now out of danger.

A New United Nations report says that up to 3,000 Iraqi villagers fleeing areas near Kirkuk were captured by ISIS militants on Thursday. Up to 12 were immediately executed.

In 2016, there have been 1,274 Islamic attacks in 50 countries so far. During these catastrophes, 11,774 people were killed and 14,303 were injured.

During the holy month of Ramadan, ISIS escalated the level of violence. In May, three weeks prior to the start of Ramadan, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani pronounced his rally cry to the world, saying, “Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers, especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.” Ramadan is a month when Allah favors martyrdom sacrifice, opening the floodgates to heaven, home to the waiting virgins.

The attacks came hard and fast by the “religion of peace.”

On June 12th, ISIS took credit for a lone gunman shooting and killing 49 in an Orlando, Florida nightclub. The next day, in Paris, an Islamic jihadist stabbed a police officer, then later his wife, in front of their son.

June 20th in Kabul, Afghanistan, multiple attacks by ISIS killed 14 and 11 by the Taliban. On the 21st, a suicide truck bomb exploded in Jordan, along the Syrian border, killing 7 soldiers and wounding 13.

On the 28th of June, three suspected ISIS suicide bombers opened fire at Istanbul’s airport, blowing themselves up, killing 45 and wounding over 250. In Yemen, the next day, 43 were killed by four bombs going off at checkpoints in the southern city, held by ISIS.

Are you afraid of an ISIS attack occurring in the United States over the next year?

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A Playbook Followed Too Perfectly

The month of July was just as deadly, if not more.

The massacre in Nice, France, by a driver of a truck that killed 84 was the most horrific. Yet, the burning alive of 46 Sunnis in Fallujah, Iraq by Shiite militia group, Hashd al-Shaabi, was just as horrifying, though not covered in comparison to Nice.

The Fulani killed 81 in peaceful farming communities in Benue, Nigeria. While the al-Nusra front shelled neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria, killing 34 and wounding 200.

At a Shiite shrine in Balad, Iraq, 56 pilgrims were killed by a Sunni suicide bomber. ISIS then executed 40 women and children in Um al-Houshl, Syria. And would also take credit for Karrada, Iraq’s shopping district bombing that killed some 300 people.

Looking at all of these events aimed to stoke fear in the West over the last couple months, it becomes clear that ISIS wants a global civil war.

ISIS’ plan is not to spark a World War, but to ignite a civil war across the world. This kind of war would pit Sunni Muslims against the rest of the world. If the Sunnis are singled out for the incessant, nonstop violence from extremist jihadi groups, then they would have nowhere else to turn but these militants groups. Governments in this part of the world do not always take the side of the masses, worrying more about power than representative democracy.

Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government in Iraq played perfectly to ISIS’ divisive blueprint. By creating a climate north of Baghdad where Sunnis felt “isolated, under siege, disempowered, and brutalized by Maliki’s Shia majority state as it clamped down on jihadist terror,” the government pit its own people against itself. The crackdown on jihadists was seen through a sectarian lens, as opposed to a national one. With Maliki failing to isolate the terrorists from the general Sunni public, many of these Sunnis in the north and west of the country would eventually turn to ISIS for protection and support, hence their rapid rise.

This same pattern played out in Syria. ISIS quickly moved in once the civil war started. Initially not the main fighting force against the Assad regime, ISIS would over time become the most effective fighting force on the ground. With Assad’s brutal crackdown, many became open to joining a group like ISIS. Eventually, enough of the Syrian Arabs would be forced to join ISIS in their struggle to topple Assad as it became the best, and sometimes the only, option.


Will ISIS Divide Us or Unite Us?

With ISIS as entrenched as it is in Iraq and Syria, and expanding into Europe, Asia, and Africa, divisions must be bridged if we are to fight this challenge head on. Too many Muslims around the world defend against anti-Muslim bigotry by remaining silent while extremist groups continue to ravage their countrysides. Western societies must challenge our Muslim counterparts to take their religion back. “An insurgency cannot survive without a level of ideological support from the community it recruits from,” so, there is undoubtedly a significant amount of support for ISIS in the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. This support must be quashed by appealing to people’s sense of law and order.

“One needn’t be black to condemn racism. Likewise, one needn’t be Muslim to condemn any expression of theocratic Islamism,” wrote Maajid Nawaz in The Daily Beast recently. All of us must stand together to condemn all forms of hatred and bigotry, without exception.” The struggle against radical jihadism, will be a generational struggle. It will take some time to counter the radical Islamist ideology that has taken hold in single actors in an ever-increasing amount of cities in multiple continents.

2016 has been a year of accelerating attacks linked to ISIS in Europe and other countries outside of the Middle East. According to IntelCenter, which tracks terrorism incidents around the world, “there has been a significant attack directed or inspired by ISIS every 84 hours since June 8 in cities outside the war zones in Iraq, Syria, Sinai in Egypt and Libya.” Significantly, more than half of these attacks have occurred outside of big cities and other high-priority targets usually frequented attacked by terrorists. Instead, a slew of random, low-key, but just as deadly attacks have fueled a real sense of unease in the public throughout Europe.

Europe’s proximity to the Middle East has led to this string of terrorist attacks in France and Germany. A real sense of anxiety has been bubbling for some time.

Some Germans are scared of going to the mall. Teachers in France can’t believe these attacks are occurring in their quaint countrysides. And in Bavaria, locals drive by a cafe that was blown up by a night of terror. This kind of homegrown extremism lashing out against the local population is a fearful thing to ponder, but it has now become a daily reality.

Intelligence analysts at Flashpoint Partners claim that there is now “more coordination between potential lone actors or small unofficial cells with jihadi media -- a way to guarantee that their message is disseminated and to prove their allegiance to ISIS without necessarily joining its ranks.” The public message from ISIS over the past year or so has consistently been: “Don't come to Syria; kill the unbelievers at home.” These kind of attacks on Western targets have bred a real sense of anxiety and distrust of leaders’ ability to protect its people.

European Terror Trending Upward

This real anxious feeling is felt in France, where new terror attacks are happening on a seemingly weekly basis. French citizens try to put on a brave face, but anxiety has nevertheless taken hold in the populace.

"There is a cumulative effect. At first (a terror attack) is an unexpected event, but now we are in a situation where we fear it happening again," said Evelyne Josse, a Belgium-based psychologist and trauma expert. This feeling of inevitability is a tough one to live with everyday. When you don’t know when the next one is coming, but you are sure it is coming, one can go crazy thinking about that all day.

People are scared to ride the bus, go on trains, or take a vacation to the beach. The reality is that the next one could really happen anywhere. The first big attack happened at the start of 2015, with the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, when 17 died. Then, last November, 130 people were killed at restaurants and a concert hall, leading President Hollande to declare a state of emergency, vowing to take the fight to ISIS and other terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

The July attack in Nice, followed by the murdered priest in Normandy, brought France to its knees.

French President Hollande declared that his country is at war. “We are at war externally, in Syria and Iraq, and internally, against radicalization, against individual jihadists.” He would clarify that this will not be a short and swift battle.

“I also owe you the truth – this war will be long,” Hollande began. “What it’s aimed at is our democracy. Our democracy is the target and it will be our strength, because our unity is our strength. It’s with perseverance that we will succeed. In that way we will be able to win the war against fanaticism and pain, and we will win this war.”


Culture Under Fire

Our democracy and way of life is under attack by jihadists who disagree with us so much they will kill themselves to make you aware of that fact.

"This is new to us. There are countries like Israel where there is a daily threat of a terror attack. One hears talk of the 'Israelization' of our society but even in Israel you cannot prevent people from carrying out certain acts," said Josse, the psychologist. Society cannot live under constant fear of another terrorist attack. It is simply not healthy.

Has terrorism won? Josse estimates that around 20 to 30 percent of people will choose to avoid anxiety-producing situations such as crowds and public transport. "In reality the risk is minimal. One has more chance of dying in a car accident on our way to a concert or football match than in a terror attack.” Still, this does nothing to reduce the stress when attacks are recorded every 84 hours. "You can avoid these places, and it is sure you won't die in a terrorist attack. But you might die of boredom."

Will we die of boredom, afraid to go out in public? Or will we keep on living each day to the fullest? Like we should! Unafraid of cowards who have a warped view of the world. Easier to say for me living in the U.S. as opposed to Europe.

Let’s pray another destabilizing attack does not occur in America. Unfortunately, the way things are going, another catastrophic day of death seems inevitable.

Nevertheless, we cannot live in fear. We must take our civilizations back. ISIS does not want order, they want chaos. Let’s make sure we don’t give it to them.


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