News

National Security & Defense

State Department: Islamist Militants’ Tactics Evolving after U.S. Victories

An Iraqi soldiers walks past an ISIS emblem during fighting north of Mosul, January 2017. (Khalid al Mousily/Reuters)

The State Department cautioned Wednesday that Islamic militants have “adjusted” their tactics after U.S. forces and allies secured significant victories against them last year.

In an annual report on America’s global war on terror, analysts also noted that militant attacks decreased 23 percent and fatalities decreased 27 percent worldwide from 2016 to 2017 as the U.S. made “major strides” against terrorist groups. U.S.-backed forces together with Iraqi troops have freed the vast majority of the territory in Iraq and Syria that had been in the grip of the Islamic State, including the strongholds of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

Despite those successes, ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their partners “have proven to be resilient, determined and adaptable, and they have adjusted to heightened counterterrorism pressure in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere,” the report says:

They have become more dispersed and clandestine, turning to the Internet to inspire attacks by distant followers, and, as a result, have made themselves less susceptible to conventional military action. Further, the return or relocation of foreign terrorist fighters from the battlefield has contributed to a growing cadre of experienced, sophisticated, and connected terrorist networks, which can plan and execute terrorist attacks.

The authors also note that the fight against terrorist groups has been hindered by Iran, which remains the leading state sponsor of terror and has a “near-global terrorist reach.”

“Iran uses terrorism as a tool of its statecraft,” Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, told reporters. “It has no reservations about using that tool on any continent.”

The Trump administration scrapped the Iran nuclear deal in May and in November plans to reintroduce the international oil embargo Iran was freed from under the deal. The administration is hoping to negotiate a new agreement addressing Iran’s ballistic-missile and nuclear programs.

Most Popular

U.S.

In Defense of Coleman Hughes

Picture the scene: A young man walks into a congressional hearing to offer witness testimony. His grandfather was barbarically brutalized by people who are now long dead. The nation in which he resides built its wealth of his grandfather’s brutalization. The question: Should his fellow citizens pay the young ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Making Sense of the Iran Chaos

One would prefer that correct decisions be made according to careful, deliberate plan. But a correct decision made impulsively, through a troubling process, is still nonetheless correct, and so it is with Donald Trump’s decision to refrain from military action against Iran. The proposed strike would represent a ... Read More
Education

College Leaders Should Learn from Oberlin

Thanks to their social-justice warrior mindset, the leaders of Oberlin College have caused an Ohio jury to hit it with $44 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a case where the school couldn't resist the urge to side with its “woke” students against a local business. College leaders should learn ... Read More
Film & TV

Toy Story 4: A National Anthem

The Toy Story franchise is the closest thing we have to an undisputed national anthem, a popular belief that celebrates what we think we all stand for — cooperation, ingenuity, and simple values, such as perpetual hope. This fact of our infantile, desensitized culture became apparent back in 2010 when I took a ... Read More
Elections

Joe and the Segs

Joe Biden has stepped in it, good and deep. Biden, if he has any hope of ever being elected president, will be dependent on residual goodwill among African Americans from his time as Barack Obama’s loyal and deferential vice president — so deferential, in fact, that he stood aside for Herself in 2016 even ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Madcap Caution of Donald Trump

The worry last week was that the Trump administration was ginning up fake intelligence about Iran blowing up oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz to justify a war against Iran. Then, this week, President Donald Trump said the Iranian attacks weren’t a big deal. The episode is another indication of the ... Read More