America Must Adapt to New Realities As Fight Against Terror Continues

May 7, 2019 by HJ Mai
Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units, or Hashd al Shaabi, chant before going into battle as they fight alongside Iraq Army forces during the offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIS in October 2016. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

In late March, United States-backed fighters took control of the last remaining ISIS stronghold in Syria. The battle for Baghouz, which dragged on for weeks, gave President Donald Trump his long-awaited military victory. But while the terror groups’ physical caliphate has been defeated, the fight against terrorism continues around the world.

“The war against ISIS isn’t over, it’s just entering a new phase. As Secretary Mike Pompeo said recently, we’re in an era of ‘decentralized jihad.’ And as ISIS adapts, we’ll have to adapt too,” U.S. Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales said during an event at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.

The U.S.-led coalition in the fight against ISIS liberated nearly 42,000 square miles – nearly the size of England – from ISIS control in Syria and Iraq. In addition, the coalition has freed approximately 7.7 million people from brutal ISIS rule in the region. Yet, despite this resounding military success, ISIS remains a global threat capable of launching terrorist attacks.

“Even as we defeat them on the battlefield, ISIS has shown a dangerous ability to adapt. The group’s leaders and followers see the loss of their false caliphate as a setback, not a defeat, and they’re actively looking to continue the fight from ISIS branches and networks around the world,” Sales said.

ISIS’ global reach was put on display on Easter Sunday, when more than 250 people were killed during numerous coordinated suicide attacks in hotels and churches across Sri Lanka. Two days after the bombings, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sri Lanka in a video. The attack confirmed that ISIS’ ideology did not die with its territory in Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. and its allies are now facing an enemy that can’t be confronted on the battlefield. While the U.S. military is capable of defeating pretty much anybody on the battlefield, its capabilities are somewhat limited when it comes to ISIS-inspired homegrown terrorism.

“You don’t need to go to a terrorist training camp now, all you need to do is rent a truck and plow it into a crowd of people,” Sales said.

To combat this form of terrorism, the Trump administration will put an emphasis on criminal prosecution; increased border security; disruption of funding networks; and combating dangerous ideologies.

“Increasingly, the fight against ISIS will take place in courtrooms and prisons, as we boost efforts to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate ISIS fighters. We’ll fight ISIS at our borders, as we look to stop terrorist travel and eliminate facilitation routes. We’ll fight ISIS in banks, as we cut off the flow of money to its networks and deny them the resources they need to plot attacks. And we’ll fight ISIS online, in the realm of ideas, as we look to combat its vile and violent ideology,” Sales said.

When Trump announced in December 2018 that ISIS had been defeated and U.S. troops would be coming home, he caught his own military leadership and America’s allies off guard. The president has since backtracked his comments and confirmed that a residual U.S. force will remain in Syria. Trump’s U-turn highlights the complicated nature of a fight that can’t be won through sheer military force. It’s a fight that has to be won in the minds of people.

“We need to collectively refute the hateful, intolerant, and supremacist messaging that helped give rise to ISIS in the first place,” Sales said.

Military

New Defense Chief Urges Taliban to Curtail Attacks
Geopolitics
New Defense Chief Urges Taliban to Curtail Attacks
February 19, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - In his first press conference as Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, said an end to U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan depends entirely on the Taliban reducing attacks on NATO forces. “Clearly the violence is too high right now,” he said. "More progress needs... Read More

Inspector General Report Says US Efforts at Gender Equality in Afghanistan Produced 'Mixed Results'
Military
Inspector General Report Says US Efforts at Gender Equality in Afghanistan Produced 'Mixed Results'
February 19, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

WASHINGTON- A report from the Office of the Inspector General recommended that America make safeguarding women's rights in Afghanistan a top priority, describing the fragile nature of gains in equality in the region. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, the oversight authority... Read More

Army Chief of Staff Discusses Challenges, Priorities for Upcoming Fiscal Year
Military
Army Chief of Staff Discusses Challenges, Priorities for Upcoming Fiscal Year
February 18, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville shared updates and laid out the branch’s priorities in a virtual webinar discussion hosted by The Heritage Foundation on Wednesday.  During the forum, McConville said the Army’s primary upfront investments will be people-focused and geared toward both... Read More

How the US Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan 'Slowed'
Geopolitics
How the US Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan 'Slowed'
February 12, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the Congressional "Afghanistan Study Group" released its report on unwinding American commitments in that country, recommending that diplomatic efforts attempt to delay the May 2021 withdrawal date of American troops from the region to ensure the proper conditions for removal.... Read More

Biden to Drop Trump's Military Transgender Ban
Military
Biden to Drop Trump's Military Transgender Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that largely bars transgender individuals from joining the military, dumping a ban ordered by President Donald Trump in a tweet during his first year in office, a person... Read More

Capitol Police Push Back on Reports National Guard 'Banished' to Parking Garage
Law Enforcement
Capitol Police Push Back on Reports National Guard 'Banished' to Parking Garage
January 22, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Capitol Police on Friday pushed back at multiple media reports that the agency had banished National Guard troops to nearby parking garages following the Biden inauguration. According to Politico, thousands of National Guardsmen were allowed back into the Capitol Thursday night, hours... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top