As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, this past week has seen several deadly attacks across the globe. The terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey, then am attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh, followed by a massive truck bombing in Baghdad, Iraq which has killed some 200 people. Yesterday there were three bombings in Saudi Arabia, including one in Medina near the burial site of the Prophet Mohammed, blessings and peace be upon him. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has claimed responsibility for some of these attacks. Off-shoots, or ′franchises′ of Al Qaeda may also be behind several attacks. There seems little doubt that radical, Islamic terrorism is continuing to spread.
The ground war against ISIS has resulted in some successes recently. The liberation of Fallujah was significant. While Iraqi ground troops took back the city, US-led airstrikes killed some 250 ISIS fighters fleeing the city. But while the Islamic State seems to be losing some territory in Iraq and Syria, its activities are increasing elsewhere. In Libya, ISIS has a solid foothold, despite the best efforts by Libyan tribes supported by US and some NATO allies. There is increased ′chatter′ throughout Europe as terrorists take advantage of the refugee crisis, mingling fighters along with those seeking peace and aid.
The series of high-profile bombings and attacks of the past week are just the latest attempts to broaden the scope of terrorism. So far, current strategies to oppose radical, Islamic terrorism are barely keeping pace, if not outright failing. Some are calling for change in our approach to counter-terrorism. Drone and airstrikes alone are not winning the war. For years, I have been advocating a reformation movement to rekindle the sort of tolerance and intellectual pursuits which Islam was famous for. Western Civilization would never have had the Renaissance had it not been for the legacy of Islam from the 9th and 10th Centuries. By not addressing the religious aspects of the problem, the problem is not going to diminish. This has been a major flaw by both the Bush′43 and Obama administrations.
The reality is that no one strategy is going to work. Even the prospects of eliminating terrorism altogether is doubtful. But we can certainly develop the methods needed to limit the spread. To reduce the recruiting, financing and ability to operate. Until we fully identify and address the root causes of radical, Islamic terrorism, we will continue to see acts of violence being done.
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