Islamic State’s Bloody Ramadan, and What It Means

Islamic State, like many terrorist groups, takes the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as an especially propitious time for murder. As this particular Ramadan draws to a close, IS-linked attacks have cumulatively claimed over 300 dead in Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad, and Saudi Arabia. Max Boot draws some conclusions from this latest wave of bloodshed:

A common refrain . . . has been that these attacks are [a] response to the territorial losses that IS has recently suffered. . . . [A]nalysts and U.S. government officials suggest that IS is trying show it is still relevant by expanding operations outside its core “caliphate.” That may well be the case. Or it may be that IS has been planning a campaign of terrorist attacks abroad all along and would have carried them out whether it was losing ground or not. We simply don’t know enough to offer a definitive answer.

The fact remains that, even in its currently weakened condition, IS is the most potent terrorist group on earth—indeed, perhaps the strongest in history. . . . It has the potential to wreak havoc for years to come, in whatever form it takes. Obviously it would be greatly advantageous to destroy its physical control of territory in Iraq and Syria—this is what makes possible its huge stream of income (which comes from “taxation” of the people under its control and various criminal rackets, as well as oil production) and provides it with space to train and indoctrinate recruits. It also contributes to the aura of success that has been such a big part of its allure for would-be terrorists around the world.

But while destroying the caliphate will undoubtedly diminish the IS threat, it probably won’t eliminate that threat. Like al-Qaeda, of which it was once an affiliate, IS shows a dismaying ability to adapt to adversity. . . .

[And] even if the IS threat is eventually diminished, other terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda wait in the wings. Indeed, the greatest beneficiaries of the anti-IS campaign in Iraq and Syria may be other Sunni and Shiite terrorist organizations that are eager to rush into the vacuum.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Ramadan, War on Terror

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan