In the wake of the horrific Friday terrorist attacks on Paris, it’s easy to overlook what happened in Beirut, Lebanon, on the same day in which twin suicide bombings killed over 40 people.
Experts are expressing frustration that the Obama administration appears unable or unwilling to address the likelihood of future attacks against America.
Last year was the most lethal year of terrorism on record with 16,800 terrorist attacks resulting in 43,500 deaths and 40,900 injuries. This represents an 80 percent increase in lethalities from 2013 to 2014.
How can terrorism be overcome? Scott Thuman, reporting from Beirut for “Full Measure,” asks, “[I]s prevention truly possible? Nations once declared part of a revolutionary Arab Spring in most cases over the past few years have fallen flat. Inter-government fighting and instability sent them spiraling, creating vacuums for terror groups, who’ve gained strength, and their sights on America and its allies are no longer so distant.”
Lebanese citizens say America should do more, and point out that as the United States moves away from the region, it creates a huge problem because the area has become the backyard for all the terrorists in the region.
“House of War: Islam’s Jihad Against the World” conveys what the West needs to know about Islam and the violent, expansionary ideology that seeks the subjugation and destruction of other faiths, cultures and systems of government
Sharyl Attkisson of “Full Measure” asked Thuman why they think the United States is the one to come to help them.
Thuman replied that those on the ground in Beirut reiterate that if someone is to come to their rescue, it’s the United States.
“Not only does the U.S. provide a lot of the military equipment that’s being used in the fight against the Islamic terror groups,” he said, “but also human intelligence comes from the U.S. – a lot of the training, a lot of the resources – and they feel if you don’t have U.S. intervention at a high level, perhaps higher than any other country, then the mission just can’t be accomplished.”
The Arab Spring movement created an ideal environment for terrorism to grow and thrive. Islamic terrorism expert Steve Emerson of Investigative Project on Terrorism denies Obama’s assertion that ISIS is contained.
“I’m pretty shocked,” said Emerson in response to Obama’s comments. “Our intelligence on the ground is so poor, we have no idea about the number of fighters that are coming in from Europe every month; nor do we know about the number of fighters that are coming in from Lebanon. As far as being contained – the territory shifts literally every week. So if he’s saying ‘contained,’ maybe it’s contained for that one moment. Frankly the notion that it’s contained suggests it’s contained politically around the world; and as we see in France, it’s not contained.”
FBI agents “who want to retain their jobs” are expressing “exasperation at the fact that they do not have a handle, and they do not believe that headquarters has a handle, or this administration has a handle, on ISIS,” said Emerson.
The predictability of ISIS attacks – from the Middle East, coming to Africa, then Europe, then the U.S. – begs the question of why America hasn’t been able to do anything about it.
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“The fact that they succeeded,” noted Emerson, “eight guys … had been able to paralyze an entire country with the third largest powerful military in the world – what do you think that tells them? That tells them they can do almost anything.”
The idea that Arab Spring revolutionary uprisings might open the door to terrorists was well recognized by analysts at the time, including William Braniff, Executive Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
Braniff confirmed the impact of the Arab Spring on terrorism. “Terrorist organizations need a safe haven, a place where they can organize, mobilize, recruit, train,” he said. “The Arab Spring created a series of security voids, and terrorists sprang up to fill them.”
He confirmed more attacks on Europe and the U.S. are inevitable. “ISIL has an apocalyptic goal in mind,” said Braniff, “to establish a caliphate and purify Islam through the establishment of that caliphate, to expand the borders of that caliphate, and ultimately usher in a civilizational conflict between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world.”
He defined a caliphate as a political religious institution similar to a nation-state, a nation for the Muslim community.
“The American way is to win the hearts and minds, and look for areas of compromise and coexistence,” observed Attkisson. “Does that fit in at least with these extremists, and how they view the world?”
“There’s certainly no compromising with ISIL,” replied Braniff. “They have distinguished themselves … by being uncompromising. They’re unwilling to compromise on their interpretation of God’s law. They’re unwilling to compromise on their interpretation of the supremacy of Islam.
“This is not an organization you can negotiate with,” he concluded.