The Islamic State Will Thrive Only as Long as the US Lets It
For almost two generations, since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, self-proclaimed jihadis have been fighting to re-establish Islamic supremacy and domination in the world. Leaders of the nations they have been targeting have regarded them as a problem—but mostly not as dangerous enemies who must be decisively defeated. And so their numbers have grown and their ability to project power has increased.
The Islamic State, an al-Qaeda splinter that arose after America’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, was quick to take responsibility for last week’s carnage in Paris. This follows by less than a year its attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a French Jewish supermarket. Also attributed to the Islamic State: a double suicide-bombing in Beirut on Thursday and, in October, a bombing in Ankara and the blowing up of a Russian passenger jet.
The Islamic State’s rival is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which prefers to pretend it was not behind such attacks as those in Beirut in 1983; Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994; Berlin in 1992; and Burgas, Bulgaria, in 2012—not to mention the failed plots to bomb New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2007 and a restaurant in Washington, D.C., in 2011.
Also alive and well and lethal: Nigeria-based Boko Haram, Somalia-based al Shabaab, Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. I could go on.