FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE — Just a year ago, ISIS (aka ISIL, aka Daesh) was on the offensive. In Iraq, the group had solidified its hold over Al-Anbar province by securing the predominantly Sunni city of Ramadi and was threatening Baghdad. Some twenty-thousand Iraqi soldiers fled in the face of just 3,000 ISIS fighters. In Syria, ISIS had captured the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO heritage site and also secured nearby gas fields. Like their Iraqi kinsmen, the Syrian army was in full retreat. It seemed that no Arab army was capable of confronting the Islamic State.
The situation today is markedly different. In Anbar province, the Iraqi army backed by various Shiite militias is pressing its assault against the ISIS-held city of Fallujah, highlighting the sectarian nature of the fighting. In eastern Syria, Syrian forces backed by Russian airpower, have retaken Palmyra and are now gearing up for an offensive against the ISIS stronghold Al-Raqqah, considered to be the Islamist group’s capital.
[…] But it would be a grave mistake to write ISIS off just yet. In fact, as the Islamic State continues to lose ground and becomes more desperate, we can expect concerted efforts by the group to unleash terror attacks on soft targets throughout Europe and the United States, similar to the Paris and San Bernardino attacks that claimed the lives of 130 and 14 people respectively. Though achieving tactically little, these acts of terror sow fear, disrupt daily normal life, draw Jihadist recruits and most importantly, make the group relevant. […]
[…] Most importantly, the United States needs to rapidly address the decrepit state of its porous borders. Western Europe has thus far been the focal point of Jihadist attacks principally due to two factors – the existence of a high concentration of Muslims, many of whom are radicalized and a pathetic lack of border controls. The current Muslim migrant influx, which includes an extraordinarily high percentage of young males, has only added to the problem. In the United States, the situation is not as acute but still poses a credible threat that mandates immediate remedial action.
President Obama has promised that those “refugees” allowed to enter the U.S. will be thoroughly vetted but that claim rings hollow in light of the San Bernardino experience. Tashfeen Malik, Seyd Farook’s partner in crime and Pakistani Jihadi bride, entered the U.S. on a K-1 (fiancée) visa and underwent two separate screenings by Homeland Security and the State Department before being granted a visa and underwent a third before obtaining her green card. But Malik had expressed pro-terrorist, anti-American rants on social media and these went unnoticed by immigration and Homeland Security officials despite the so-called “rigorous vetting process.” […]