Even if the number of attacks on the U.S. homeland remains low, the Islamic State and its subsequent chaos will threaten U.S. interests in the Middle East for years to come.
Daniel Byman is foreign policy editor of Lawfare. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on counterterrorism and Middle East security. He is also a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
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We should prepare for an increase in violence from individuals who might have traveled abroad to fight on behalf of the Islamic State but who ultimately remain in their home countries.
The most consequential reasons for al Qaeda's decline include its underestimation of the U.S.-led counterterrorism campaign and the associated loss of its haven and global infrastructure; its killing of Muslim civilians; and the lack of a strong base among the people it claims to represent.
Al Qaeda’s power and influence have fallen considerably from its peak in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The question is whether the group remains strong and may resurge, or whether the decline is for real and may even be permanent.
The terrorism threat posed by the Islamic State is real but at times exaggerated and even more frequently misunderstood. Although U.S.-led advances against the Islamic State’s base in Iraq and Syria will likely continue, the United States is not fully prepared for the group’s defeat.
Among the many children of the Six-Day War, the most frightening is international terrorism.