ISIS terrorists are reportedly rapidly regaining territory in Iraq and Syria, their so-called “caliphate,” after former President Donald Trump effectively wiped them out in those areas.
“The evidence of a resurgence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is mounting by the day, nearly three years after the militants lost the last patch of territory of their so-called caliphate, which once stretched across vast parts of the two countries,” The New York Times reported. “The fact that ISIS was able to mount these coordinated and sophisticated attacks in recent days shows that what had been believed to be disparate sleeper cells are re-emerging as a more serious threat.”
The Times cited several recent incidents that have happened in the region, including a massive attack attempting to free ISIS prisoners in Syria, attacks on military forces in Iraq, and a reemergence of gruesome beheading videos.
“It’s a wake-up call for regional players, for national players, that ISIS is not over, that the fight is not over,” said Kawa Hassan, Middle East and North Africa director at the Stimson Center. “It shows the resilience of ISIS to strike back at the time and place of their choosing.”
The report noted that the U.S. military and its allies engaged ISIS at the largest level in three years this week after the terrorists attacked the prison in Syria and tried to free other ISIS terrorists. The report said that while ISIS was making other attacks in Syria, it also launched a major attack against an Iraqi Army base late at night, killing 10 soldiers.
“The attack raised fears that some of the same conditions in Iraq that allowed for ISIS’s rise in 2014 were now making room for it to reconstitute,” the report added. “The attacks in Iraq, conducted by ISIS sleeper cells in remote mountain and desert areas, have highlighted a lack of coordination between Iraqi government forces and the Peshmerga, Kurdish forces of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many of the attacks take place in disputed territory claimed by both the Iraqi Kurdish government and the central government.”
An expert told The Times that many of the ISIS terrorists carrying out the attacks appeared to be younger than many of the group’s previous terrorists and that they might be from families that have ties to the Islamic terrorist group.
Experts worry that one of ISIS’s offshoots, ISIS-K, along with al-Qaeda, are regrouping in Afghanistan following Democrat President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout from the country back in August.
The Associated Press reported:
Speaking at the Pentagon, McKenzie said it’s clear that al-Qaeda is attempting to rebuild its presence inside Afghanistan, which was the base from which it planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. He said some militants are coming into the country through its porous borders, but it is hard for the U.S. to track numbers. …
McKenzie and other senior U.S. military and national security officials had said before the U.S. withdrawal that it would complicate efforts to keep a lid on the al-Qaeda threat, in part because of the loss of on-the-ground intelligence information and the absence of a U.S.-friendly government in Kabul. The U.S. says it will rely on airstrikes from drones and other aircraft based beyond Afghanistan’s borders to respond to any extremist threats against the U.S. homeland.
“We’re probably at about 1 or 2% of the capabilities we once had to look into Afghanistan,” he said. The AP said that McKenzie warned that this meant that it was “very hard” to make sure that major terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS cannot use Afghanistan to launch attacks against the U.S.
McKenzie said that ISIS was “reinvigorated” after the Taliban released numerous ISIS terrorists from Afghan prisons that were abandoned under Biden’s leadership. The ISIS terrorist who murdered 13 U.S. service members during a suicide attack at the airport in Kabul was reportedly released from prison.