July 3, 2016- Iraqi security forces and civilians gather at the site of the suicide bombing in Baghdad. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack in the Iraqi capital.Hadi Mizban/AP
ISIS is celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with multiple massacres. ISIS’s followers are heeding the message released by ISIS’s spokesman, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani, before Ramadan began. Jihadists must attack to “gain the great reward for martyrdom in Ramadan,” he declared. ISIS looks to the example of Prophet Muhammad himself who defeated his enemies in Mecca in the Battle of Badr, which took place during Ramadan.
In the last week alone, ISIS followers have struck in several cities – Istanbul, resulting in at least 44 deaths, the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka that left 22 dead, and most recently Baghdad, where a suicide bombing on a busy shopping street killed at least 200 people including dozens of children. On the penultimate day of Ramadan, ISIS even struck inside Saudi Arabia. It has reportedly taken credit for a suicide attack in Medina, Islam’s second holiest city.
The Baghdad attack, which occurred in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood, was the deadliest single bombing attack in the Iraqi capital in years. In taking credit for the massacre, ISIS warned in its statement that “the raids of the mujahedeen [holy warriors] against the Rafidha [Shiites] apostates will not stop.” The attack laid bare the folly of President Obama’s decision against military advice to pull out all U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. It also revealed gaping holes in the Iraqi government’s security measures for the capital. Baghdad residents were so disgusted that they jeered and threw objects at Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi‘s convoy when he visited the devastated area to inspect the damage.
The Ramadan spree of jihadist killings began early in the Muslim holy month when on June 8th ISIS-affiliated Palestinian terrorists struck Tel Aviv, killing four people. They “belonged to the largest Palestinian cell linked to ISIS to be uncovered so far by Israeli security services,” according to DEBKAfile. The plan, DEBKAfile reported, was to have originally included “a mass-murder shooting attack on a crowded train.”
Four days after the Tel Aviv attack, the Orlando massacre was carried out by an individual who had regularly attended a radical Islamic mosque and pledged his allegiance to ISIS during the shooting. Two illegal immigrants from Tunisia, who were ISIS followers, stabbed a 26-year-old transgender man in Brussels the day before the Orlando attack. A man claiming allegiance to ISIS stabbed a police official and his companion to death in France a day after the Orlando attack.
President Obama points to recent territorial losses suffered by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including their retreat from Falluja, as a sign that his policies are working. He boasted that “we are making significant progress. This campaign at this stage is firing on all cylinders.” Secretary of State John Kerry claimed, following the Istanbul airport attack, that ISIS was “desperate” and “know they are losing.” The president and secretary of state are operating in an alternative fantasy world of their own. Their statements represent the desperate gasps of an administration watching helplessly as ISIS’s global jihad expands at a terrifying rate.
CIA director John Brennan has a firmer grasp of the reality of the threat we are facing. “We still have a ways to go before we’re able to say that we have made some significant progress against them,” Brennan said last week at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. “As the pressure mounts on ISIL,” he added, using an alternative acronym for ISIS, “we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.” They have “tens of thousands of individuals that are scattered not just in the Middle East but also to West Africa, to Southeast Asia, and beyond.”
ISIS’s well-coordinated attacks in several countries in one week demonstrate both its reach and tactical sophistication. ISIS is fighting a multi-level guerilla war, relying simultaneously on a combination of direct attacks in countries where it still controls some territory, geographically dispersed cells with trained, well-armed fighters ready to strike soft civilian targets at the direction of ISIS’s leadership, and radicalized individuals inspired by ISIS’s social media propaganda and by supportive imams at local mosques. ISIS’s use of encryption technologies to conceal its communications sharply reduces the effectiveness of electronic surveillance. Its unpredictability in the choice of soft civilian targets amongst an enormous number of possibilities complicates any preventive security measures.
“Crusaders” in the West, Shiite “apostates,” Sunni “hypocrites,” particularly those who form alliances with the “Crusaders,” and all nonbelievers world-wide are targets of ISIS. They do not recognize any distinctions between civilians and combatants, only between “true” Muslims and infidels. Jihad is their continuous “holy” war waged by “true” Muslims to kill or subjugate the infidels and establish global Islamic rule.
The Nazis could not be defeated by pinprick attacks. Neither can ISIS. It is time to level its command and control centers, arms depots and logistical facilities in and around its de facto capital of Raqqa to the ground. And then destroy the ground zero of ISIS’s mythological “end of days” battle with the infidels by completely destroying the Syrian town of Dabiq. It is time to give ISIS its final battle and bring their own days to an end.