Instances Sq. Assault Reminds Us That Terrorism Nonetheless Looms

Whereas we’d all wish to suppose that the specter of Islamist terrorism is however only a unhealthy reminiscence, the machete assault on law enforcement officials in New York Metropolis’s Instances Sq. on New Yr’s Eve is a stark reminder that the chance nonetheless looms.

On that night, NYPD police stated, a machete-wielding man recognized as Trevor Bickford, 19, of Wells, Maine, injured three law enforcement officials who had been on responsibility to guard revelers gathered within the rain to look at the enduring Instances Sq. ball drop to welcome the brand new 12 months.

Bickford, who was subsequently shot and wounded by police, faces fees of tried homicide, assault, and terrorism. He has been described as a self-radicalized, “homegrown violent extremist” with “pro-jihadist views” and reportedly desired to affix the Taliban.

That is all deeply troubling.

Worldwide terrorism doesn’t get a lot ink within the information lately compared to nationwide safety challenges from the likes of Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran, however it’s nonetheless an space of concern.

As an illustration, do you know that U.S. and associate militaries performed greater than 300 counterterror operations within the Center East alone final 12 months, killing almost 700 ISIS fighters? Who even thought that ISIS, also referred to as the Islamic State, nonetheless existed?

Effectively, it does.

Certainly, some 30,000 ISIS fighters reportedly are imprisoned in Iraq and Syria who—if busted unfastened from captivity—may function the inspiration for a revitalization of the world’s once-largest “terrorist military.”

ISIS additionally has terror branches, networks, and cells exterior Iraq and Syria, together with in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, and in nations in Africa reminiscent of Nigeria, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique.      

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One other terrorist group, al-Qaeda, can also be nonetheless round.

Though al-Qaeda’s menace to the U.S. isn’t what it was once within the early days after 9/11, it nonetheless has important terror associates around the globe to advance its Islamist, anti-West agenda. 

Take East Africa’s al-Shabab, which the State Division says is “certainly one of al-Qaeda’s most harmful associates,” and is killing “1000’s of individuals, together with Individuals, in Somalia and throughout East Africa.”

In addition to destabilizing East Africa, U.S. policymakers are also involved about al-Shabab sponsoring terror assaults on the homeland. As a consequence, a number of hundred U.S. troops are actually in Somalia.

Different al-Qaeda companions are discovered within the Center East, South Asia, the Levant, the Maghreb, the Sahel, and the Arabian Peninsula—to not point out al-Qaeda’s long-standing ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the place al-Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike final July.

The talk will proceed over whether or not these international terrorist teams’ aspirations are native, regional, or worldwide—and, importantly, whether or not the U.S. homeland or American pursuits abroad are within the crosshairs of those terrorist teams.

However with out query—even in an age of tense nice energy competitors and horrifying nuclear proliferation (e.g, Iran and North Korea)—the Biden administration must pay continued consideration to native and regional terrorist teams, as their ambitions can change shortly to recruiting, coaching, and exporting terrorists.       

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