Paris Attacks and Other Assaults Seen as Evidence of a Shift by ISIS

Attacks carried out far from the Islamic State’s base in Iraq and Syria upend the view held by the United States and its allies that the group was a regional threat.

Comments: 108

  1. If it were so important to gather information why have our intelligence services not asked for a court order? I doubt any judge in their right mind would not give them one. If anyone can answer that question I sure would like to hear from them.

  2. I'm kind of stunned to be reading this article in the NYT. which usually publishes articles that are insightful and often so prescient. This particular piece merely sums up what the talking heads of television/radio have predicted for some time.

  3. Of course ISIS has turned to external attacks as it seems evident that their business plan always called for that. First, they required a sanctuary in which to operate. They have that now. Second, they required financial resources. They have them now. Third, they needed an international network in place to execute on their plans. They have that now.

    We now have a sophisticated, well financed and globally operated terror organization that views the West as their primary target.

    The comments that follow will inevitably whine about how we got here and who is to blame. That will gain us nothing. We need to focus on how we neutralize this very existential threat in the short term, and devise plans on how to eradicate the threat over the long run.

  4. I'm eager for the reporting about ISIS to stop including this photo of Abaaoud we are seeing every day. It glorifies this murderer.

  5. Surely it's not THAT far from Egypt to France, a few hours on a plane at most. An average hike for a motivated Muslim, otherwise. Why is there a revelation caused by Paris that was not caused by Sinai?

  6. It is as well that the President's name is not mentioned in this article. Maybe he could begin his rehabilitation by sending back his Nobel Peace prize.

  7. The stupidity of our anti-ISIS policies is multi-layered and continuing. First we stoked revolt in Syria. Then when it blew up we walked away as the country slid into a chaotic petri dish within which ISIS flourished. Then Obama minimized the ISIS threat as a JV team. Was that based on flawed intel that was fed to the boss based on what he wanted to hear? Does it matter? Then it was decided that ISIS could be defeated by bombing it into the stone age, which, almost 10,000 sorties later, doesn't seem to be working. Now we have Obama declaring that ISIS is "contained." We are pinning our hopes for "boots on the ground" on some unnamed Arab ally that will march on Raqqa (is it that surprising that no one in the Middle East is eager to sign up as America's puppet army?) And we continue to be surprised when ISIS uses the age-old insurgent's approach of fighting us where we don't expect them to be (Paris). As long as we continue to ignore the elephants in the room, including the obvious lessons of history, then they will win and we will lose.

  8. ISIS is a JV team. It's a bunch of armed guys in pickup trucks. They haven't faced any real opposition. Now some opposition is coming and their area is shrinking. ISIS isn't fighting us anywhere. They make appeals to home grown terrorists to strike and some are. ISIS has no strength outside their area except what we give them through fear which our politicians will gladly provide for them.
    Obama has been playing it about right, not giving in to fear and trying to organize some resistance. It's a mess. Remember we created al Qaeda when we financed bin Laden. Picking your friends in this part of the world isn't easy. McCain has been fooled often.

  9. Thanks, Bill! Glad to hear ISIS really is the JV team, Obama has it all under control, and that the 50 Navy Seals we are deploying there...according to the Times, soon, real soon... will wipe them all out! We can all go back to our holiday shopping without any more worries! Whew!

  10. Evolution of targets? The evolution includes Paris, Rome, Manhattan, DC, London and a longer list. The only issue is the time, logistics required to dispatch teams with weapons to carry out attacks on theater goers, pub crawling non Muslims or synagogues. They believe in the Apocalypse which will send them all to heaven when the Magreb appears, but, first there must be more nations fighting ISIS. The more outrageous their attack, the more nations who will fight them. China just joined in. These fools continue to have a real expanding Caliphate larger than England. So, they want to visit America with bombs and rifles and kill a few hundred of us here and there. What to do? Bombing is better than nothing until an Army, like the Turks, wipes them out. Not likely.

  11. Thank you, America!

  12. Kobane was the turning point for DAESH, where they have since been losing more territory in Syria and Irak. This so-called "new" approach with outside cell activity (Paris attacks) remain acts of desperation.

  13. • “The race is on between ISIS and Al Qaeda to see who can attack the West the best.”

    Why don't they attack each other and settle it that way? It would be in everyone's best interests.

  14. ISIS was regional until we started military operations against it in August 2014. This is another situation we should have left alone along with not toppling Saddam, Khadafi, and trying to take down Assad, unless ISIS moved first against the US.

  15. We can thank George W Bush for opening the can of worms, listening to Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfe, and attacking Iraq. What have we gained. wounded soldiers, a grand debt and terrorism.

  16. Let's stop the finger pointing. What is past is past. ISIS is at war with the West, with us -- all of us. Just because some among us like to say we are not at war does not change the fact. ISIS says we are. And, like it or not, the bitter truth is that ISIS is a very real, very significant manifestation of Islam. Again, just because some among us choose to believe otherwise does not alter reality.

  17. US decapitation and imprisonment of leading Sunni leaders in Iraq led to today's public and horrific battle of ISIS and Al Queda for top dog status as the leading terrorist organization. Mixed in with this is Saudi cultivation of extreme Wahabi practices that include exclusion and hatred of all infidels and god given right of misogyny. No surprise as we continue to hear GOP mantra courtesy of Natanyahu that only Iran and Shiites export terrorism.

  18. Frustrating to read this from progressives. I was not a fan of going into Iraq. But, they did use chemical weapons during Desert storm, did attack Iran, and did refuse UN inspections. All after 9/11; Al Quada did operate in northern Iraq as well.

    Again, I'm not a fan of Bush, but I am well aware that radical Islam extremists have been terrorizing the west for decades. They are not, nor have they been, just a 'regional' issue.

  19. Obama's feckless and moronic policies have no doubt helped. Arab Spring, eh?

  20. RNC talking points? I have never heard the word feckless used so often in such a short period as by R candidates and their minions. Most probably couldn't even define the word two weeks ago.
    If Obama is so "feckless," what are Hollande and Putin?

  21. • Mr. Lesaca’s analysis shows that Russia has received the most threats from the Islamic State in its videos, with more than 25 in two years. France is next with almost 20 in the same time frame, he said.

    Why not the USA who started it all?

  22. America is not prepared for terrorists attacks and Homeland security is a joke. Russia on the other hand have been fighting terrorists who where US trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit acts of terrorism. Some 100,000 Taliban fighters have been invading Russia for years making Russia prepared to deal with terrorists. The West is unprepared.

  23. This is not a criminal investigation. This is war. There is an area under control
    of ISIL. It should be bombed, notwithstanding the collateral damage. We
    did not worry much about collateral damage in the war with Nazi Germany.
    Fallujah is under ISIL control with the civilian population sympathetic to ISIL.
    If ISIL can bomb Paris, NATO can certainly bomb ISIL cities.

  24. The only "area" under ISIL control that really matters are the minds of the Sunni Muslim Arabs and their sympathizers who believe that ISIL offers them a better human civil rights alternative than their own governments. ISIL is not Nazi Germany nor Imperial Japan nor the Soviet Union.

    With only 0.75% of Americans volunteering to put on an American military uniform since 9/11/01 and the limited success of American military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen clearly there is no American military solution to this ethnic sectarian socioeconomic political educational historical problem. None of the current 2016 POTUS candidates except for Lindsey Graham has ever served in the American military.

    With hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans along with millions displaced or made refuges from directly from American or America allied arms, America has never worried much about either collateral damage or civil secular democratic plural egalitarian democratic rule. It is not too late to do so.

  25. James, how would you like someone to blow up the Transco tower in Houston? I surely would be very sad and unhappy. This is a bad idea. It is a criminal problem as ISIS is not a country. These are a bunch of gangsters, mafia style, who have taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq and done so because of us. Yes we are responsible for it by destroying the strong men who had kept this plague in control but now we are having to deal with it. We get rid of Asaad and I assure you that we will have MORE problems. We need Asaad to become more powerful so he brings all of these crazies in line.

  26. • If ISIL can bomb Paris, NATO can certainly bomb ISIL cities.

    IF they can find them. Daesh/ISIL has no boundaries, no cities, no place. It's fluid, organic. That's why your 'bombing' hasn't and won't work. On the contrary, every escalation has brought growth and further catastrophe. The plague has spread.

    The six planes our now former prime minister Harper sent over have yet to find a target to strike other than a bulldozer. Our new prime minister Trudeau, got elected in part due to a promise to bring them back and mostly to correct the myriad imbecilities of his predecessor, is doing just that.

    The only way 'out' is OUT and even that may be too late.

    "Mission accomplished", anyone?

    "The wise man is he who knows when and how to stop" — VICTOR HUGO

  27. It is the propaganda machine of ISIS that needs to be stifled. Hi tech social media has been effective in recruiting disaffected unemployed youth poor ghettos. Glamorizing the jidaist lifestyle as a macho video game can be appealing to youth looking for meaning in their bleak lives. Of coursethe brutal death cult offers brutality and draconian lives devoid of culture and the love of live. Our troops on the ground they yearn for to justify a holy war between the west and muslim world. Let us expose their propaganda for the lies it promotes.

  28. we are very good at getting information. period.

  29. We are very good a believe what we are told in the media and that is as much misinformation as it is information..

  30. 1400 yrs and still our media intellectuals and govt trying to understand ISLam. ISlamic silent war on humanity is on .Arab grand plan, convert locals and use their war manual Quran to destroy all local cultures ,systems and nations using local converts and converts form any part of the world.
    Its easy to create jihadis on just paper promise for Heaven only after death with so much sex and food .
    Our govt and Media not ready to disqualify Quran and promise of heaven.

  31. This shift in their strategy is horrifying and the west must unite immediately to destroy ISIS. Only a coordinated effort will work, and it may mean boots on the ground-boots of all nations. We cannot be made to live in fear by people who have no regard for life, their own or ours.
    However, being that we pillared the hornets nest with our unprovoked attack on Iraq, the US has the burden of responsibility to fix the problem.
    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have the blood of thousands on their hands. They need to tried and convicted for war crimes.

  32. I hope our military industrial complex is tracking every weapon we sell to the Saudi's to determine if any of them is used against us or our allies.

  33. SWM, beware of the Congressional, military, and industrial complex, as was originally planned on saying to warn the public many years ago, dropping "Congressional" at the last moment.

  34. Apparently the weapons used in the attacks, and that are being seized during raids, come from Syrian and other middle eastern government stockpiles.

  35. Do you think the even know how to use them, or, that they are able to find the on button without asking the US?? Saudi Arabia is an American construct and will only act if instructed and/or agreed by the US.

  36. Where is the leader of the free world?

    Asleep at the switch!

  37. Seeing as how ISIL's aim is to bring foreign armies to the middle east in order to fulfill the "promise" of an apocalypse and that their regional area of control is now static or actually shrinking, it's no surprise that they would be lashing out.

    My fear is that continued international terror attacks would only be tolerated for so long. How many major terror incidents could we possibly tolerate before our leaders would be forced to send in the armies? I'm sure that this is ISIL's plan, but I'm not so certain that we can resist the temptation to march in and make things much worse.

  38. Is it really an "evolution", though? Everyone knows that a determined terrorist can attack nearly every country in the world. All they need is the money and determination.

  39. Our dear Leader, surrounded by the finest security a nation can provide, continues in his mythology that combines an off-hand evaluation of ISIS as an extremist group (to be ignored as much as possible while he pushes his domestic agendas) of little real threat, and the idea that a strike here or there, a kill here or there will teach these misguided bad boys to behave. They are aberrants, out of touch with the real beauty of their religion, if not their beliefs, and a good talking to and slap upside the head will teach them to behave. It is not about the "Islam" in every speech, title and goal, as they themselves shout every minute. We must go about our business and not be cowed by their threats, or they will have won! Victory in their grasp as we become afraid. This from the president who does not dare speak their name and who proclaims his best weapon is to not offend them lest an offense become a recruitment tool. And success on the battlefields of dead men, women and children by beheadings, assassinations, bombings in cafes, airliners, theaters or stadiums are not? The west refusing to face them is not a sign of victory and a recruiting tool? No. Anti-abortionist are extremists, too, though they fight for life; they are just, what? The other side of the extremist coin that savages life? This is not leadership, this is a lecture -- from a very safe ivory tower.

  40. Sun Tzu said, "if you want to bend the enemy to your will, seize what he holds dear".

    Under George W. Bush we took the war to the Islamists in Afghanistan and Iraq. The result was an interesting twist on the old peacenik slogan, "What if they gave a war, and EVERYBODY came?" The US set up a meat grinder that the Islamists fed men into, and completely absorbed their energy in fighting.

    Fast forward to President Barack Obama, who apologized for Bush's war and withdrew all the troops, against all advice. Suddenly relieved of the pressure of a US military presence in their heartland the Islamists re-focused outward, and brought the war to the West.

    Elections have consequences. The election of a president with a juvenile ideology have been tragic and disastrous.

  41. So awful, so scary. And yet we are being asked to not profile, to not be alarmed, to not defend our borders, to not gather meta data on who is calling ISIL from within our borders. When will we wake up?

  42. Has anyone been listening? The government ( the President, etc.) have talked about that the possibility was there. They do not hype it because the people in this country could not handle it.
    I lived in Fairfax when we had the sniper and there were people who would not leave their house.
    People esp. in this country can not deal with reality very well. Maybe it is the 24/7 news, the Internet or talk tv and radio. Grow up! I was taught there are no guarantees in life. Deal with it. Stop wallowing in fear. How many interviews have you seen where the person was in Paris but nowhere near the attacks but have to tell everyone what a close call they had. How it could have been them. My heart goes out to those who were there and or lost a loved one. No one who was not there should put themselves in their shoes.
    For those of you who are calling for us to send in the troops and smash ISIS, I hope that you are willing to invest your treasure(more money for taxes and to support the veterans and their families) and send your own child over to fight.

  43. When I read the headline for this article all I could think was, "duh." So glad those "officials" finally figured out what everyone else already knew; ISIS has changed it's strategy. Haven't had my coffee this morning so maybe I'm over reacting.

  44. ISIS is the bitter fruit of Obama's feckless foreign policy decisions. The fact that HRC hasn't been held as culpable is confounding.

  45. Was at a dinner party the other night with several french liberals around the table...the conversation veered to paris...and in the interest of being brief, it came down to the refugee situation. I suggested that it was irresponsible given what we have just seen which by the way isn't really new(its been happening for over 4 decades in many forms) and I said that almost all of the terrorism over the last 4 decades comes from one source; Islam...whether it is radical islam or moderate islam, it comes from islam. The dinner guests denied this. They said this was not islam but just a group of radicals...to which I then said, well; its not coming from catholicism, nor judaism, nor buddhism, not the amish nor the quakers and not even from the despicable and almost non existant kkk....so where was it from?

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck....well....it must be a duck.

    when intel agencies worldwide estimate that approximately 10% of the world 1.8 billion muslims support jihad in one form or another...which if you do the math, is not some fringe element as many liberals are wont to tell us...it is from this 180,000,000 people that the form of RADICAL jihad or RADICAL ISLAM is given its oxygen...it is they who almost always use the proverbial, "BUT"....

    Let's get real with our safety and our future... ok? At the very least, a moratorium on the refugees would be wise.

  46. Points well taken by those who invest in the study of history and the routes of radical muslim extremism, but the mention of "4 decades" in the making as a marker is way off. Look at current countries that are dominated by the Muslim order. Are they successful contributors? Do they rule with an iron fist while subjugating the female population among others that don't fit their rule book? You must answer yes. Now look at history, current and centuries old. Currently Christians are being eliminated from the ME, their place of birth. Historically the Muslim caliphate dictated by the Koran and adopted by the extremists eventually dominate and "Moderate Muslims" are marginalized or eliminated as the extreme rules. This is what we face as the PC community continues with their narrow, ignorant and western rose colored view. It distorts the reality that is a deep part of history and is showing up daily to prove the PC crowd wrong.

  47. A common thread among the terrorists posing the greatest threat to the West, the so-called "home grown" jihadists is a history of personal failure and frustration coupled with a willingness to blame others for those failures and frustrations. These are people who look around at others enjoying life and are seized not by a desire to rise up and redouble their efforts to obtain their own happiness but rather by a narcissistic bitterness and sour envy that fuels the much easier task of destroying what others have. Where radical Islam comes in is providing an ideology that not only reinforces these thoughts it makes the violent acting out of these basest and most repellent of human weaknesses "heroic". This is a two pronged problem wherein seriously damaged individuals encouraged to blame a wider society for their problems meet up with an ideology that enables and ennobles their rage.

  48. But a lot of the terrorists, especially those leaving the west to fight along ISIS come from middle or upper class families. With all the opportunities for school, etc. how is it you say they are jealous?

  49. Syria is "not" the center of the problem - Saudi Arabia is - That is where the money is and more importantly the origin of the Sunni Philosophy that drives this game - Wahhabism.

    Break up SA and given half to the Sunni's of the world as a homeland. Invoke Article #5 for an NATO attack on SA. Enough land and resources for a 100 years. Let the Princes of SA go to London, Paris and LA where they belong and leave SA.

    If these attacks are not a western controlled contrivance, then leave Syria and Iraq to be taken care of by the Russians and Iran as a protectorate and NATO should focus on Wahhabism and SA.

  50. Re syrian refugees..yes, they are vetted over 2 yrs, (some say it is actually going to be well less than that because while right now we are talking about 10,000, they are talking up to 100,000 over the next year and more after)...that aside, its common knowledge that radical islamist terrorists think and plan in terms of years and decades whereas we in the west think in terms of the now, the instant, the short term...so what happens when sleepers are sent over amid the refugee flow, are "vetted" over 2 years, and then are awakened in 4-5 years? And this is too say nothing of the visa program nor of the porous southern borders.

    Wake up america...its game on and all you have to do is look to europe,(Sweden, MALMO, Belgium, BRUSSELS, France, PARIS, Britian, LONDON) which is sliding into the abyss. What islam could not do in the 1500's, it is achieving today in the 21st century.

  51. ISIS will only grow in power and influence as the disaffected youth of the Middle East are radicalized. There are simply too many young people with no jobs and no hope for the future. Everywhere they turn strident Muslim clerics and their own leaders blame Europe and America for their internal national problems. Their narrow minded faith compounds their radicalization exponentially. Until radical Islam changes it ways there is no way to stop the terror that its followers will export to the west. All out war is not out of the question when the next big act of terror hits.

  52. The young men who terrorized Paris were not from the Middle East.

  53. Given the marriage between Saudi Arabia and Wahhabi Islam it's going to be a long and bitter battle.

  54. Just as Afghanistan served as the sanctuary for Al Qaeda, so too do the Syrian and Iraqi territories under ISIS control. The issue is what to do about it.

    Assuming that the current state is not viable, the options are not attractive.

    1. The US can unilaterally send in the necessary military force to destroy the ISIS homelands. Basically, this is what we did to Al Qaeda but also led to GWB's war of ambition against Iraq which really tore the top off the Jihadist anthill. Americans don't want this type of world cop role anymore.

    2. The great non regional powers, including Russia and China, can send in the necessary military force to destroy the ISIS homelands and put them under international rule. This will lead cries of colonialism. It may/not leave Assad in place. It will also lead to more calls for jihad against the ROW.

    3. The Shiites and their allies can invade the ISIS sanctuaries and destroy ISIS. This will likely leave Assad in place. This will lead to calls from the Sunnis for worldwide Jihad against Shiites and their supporters. Saudi Arabia will be in the forefront. Expect echoes of GWB's warcry, "you're either with us or against us" to put pressure on the US to join the Sunnis.

    4. The Sunnis can invade the ISIS sanctuaries and destroy ISIS. This would mean that Saudi Arabia would have to attack the leading proponents of Wahhabism which is both the Sharia of Saudi Arabia and their leading export after oil. This ain't gonna happen.

    Thoughts?

  55. ISIS was never a regional threat, until America and its Middle East allies hired, trained, armed and inserted terrorists into Syria to overthrow Assad's government. The objective was to build a natural gas pipeline from Qatar through Syria to the EU which Assad opposed. These Mercenary Terrorists (MT) ended up joining ISIS making it what it could never have become on its own.

    It appears our coalition decide to use ISIS to accomplish what the MT did not...the overthrow of the Syrian government. Meanwhile, America now with congressional approval continued to train insurgents to make it appear a Syrian revolution was still a viable option.

    While it was possible to stop ISIS, it seems that our government decided not to, resulting in thousands of Muslims in cities ISIS occupied and thousands more from around the world joining ISIS growing to 100,000 fighters. This made ISIS strong regionally and created an internationally platform for terrorism. So, who should we blame for this global shift in ISIS?

  56. Summary:ISIS is not contained.

  57. Interesting pair of confluence...Russia puts a dog in the fight and ISIL launches attacks outside their heretofore usual theater of operation.

    The ISIL attacks in Paris have benefited ISIL by sowing chaos and confusion in the opposition as France doesn't seem all that interested in coordinating their revenge...make that reciprocity...bombing with the US or any of the friendly ground forces, well serving the purposes of ISIL...Gad but the purported 'advanced, industrialized, (more or less) free, (more or less) democratic and (more or less) Christian' world is getting played like a Stradivarius, further degrading their already tepid assistance to the "boots on the ground" friendly forces who are, simultaneously, fighting ISIL, trying to remove Assad from power and dodging Russian bombs and the occasional 'friendly fire.'

    "Chaotic quagmire" doesn't quit do the overall situation justice.

  58. Why does press and 24/7 media insist on calling them ISIS? Doesn't anyone notice that Secretary Kerry and Russia always refer to them as Dai'ish - a name that ISIS hates? The "fighters" in Belgium and France are petty criminals from the poor, unintegrated Muslim communities in Europe. The internet propaganda attracts unemployed men all over the world to join the cause - and the propaganda is couched in terms of The New Crusade. Why is the response from the press and 24/7 TV media playing into this narrative ? ISiS uses everything said about them in their internet propaganda to attract more people.
    It is indisputable that 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria pose a threat. Yes, the US must create a coalition to wipe them out. However for a start, why not stop the 24/7 "fanning the flames" of panic? The constant criticism of Obama's response to ISIS makes it seem that the US is doing nothing at all to combat the threat. The press and media need to change the tone. Beginning to call the enemy Dai'ish would be a good start - it would take Islam out of it and project a focus on what it really is - a bunch of thugs who invoke Islam to create fear and chaos.

  59. Europe is gone. These 2 million Muslims from Syria and Afghanistan lwill be the seeds of a new ISIS borne and raised all over Europe. Ms. Merkel has done the dumbest thing ever.

  60. If we weren't expecting these types of assaults, our intelligence is grossly deficient. Of course they will make appeals to people in other countries to carry out attacks but they can't do it themselves. I'm not sure it shows any strength just that some home grown terrorists are responding to it. Usually these types of attacks show weakness, not strength. They are in trouble because so many nations are now against them. We needed some tough troops on the ground and the Kurds and Assad may provide that muscle if we are smart enough to use it. ISIS will lose. The fear of them actually attacking other countries besides their neighbors is overblown. They are basically a bunch of guys with weapons in pickup trucks.
    Our politicians are whipping up an atmosphere of fear again for political gain. Reminds me of the Bush/Cheney lead up to Iraq.

  61. We are told that ISIS does not represent Islam, but, just in today's NYT, we read that Bahrain, one of our Islamic middle eastern allies, is accused of torturing prisoners whose only crime is protesting government policy, and another of our Islamic middle eastern allies, Saudi Arabia, is planning on executing an artist for the crime of "apostasy" (i.e., rejecting Islam).

  62. From the earlier comments:

    It is Obama's fault.
    It is Saudi Arabia's fault
    It is Bush's, Cheney's, and Rumsfeld's fault.
    It is France's fault.
    It is Islam's fault.
    It is the intelligence services' fault

    How about: It is the Islamic State's fault? Some seem to be so intent on finger-pointing that they have lost perspective on the real culprit.

  63. Nonsense: Daesh was very clear from the start that their goal were "to re-establish Muslim rule - their rule - to all regions Muslim at the peak of the original Caliphate in the VIII century" and then expand to traditional Christian lands.
    Problem is that the Obama administration is obsessed with Russia and have blinders. I remember I was writing in Blomberg two years ago warning of the Islamist tsunami and advocating for an alliance with Russia, at the time when Daesh first spelled its plans.

  64. Our bombings, and placing multi-million dollar bounties on the heads of alleged lieutenants and commanders of ISIS will serve one purpose: it will create more persons like Abdelhamid Abaaoud who will ultimately create more chaos and disrupt our lives. Say what you will, our lives are disrupted; look at Brussels: metro is closed, police and military everywhere, etc. ad infinitum - lives disrupted. Our intent should be to listen to their grievances and offer assistance in solutions that fit with those grievances. ISIS is offering an identity to these people by way of religion and our solutions should have messages of peace in accordance with their religious idiom. I regretfully say that we should expect more trouble of this nature until we tackle the root cause of this problem. We have to learn that we cannot exercise power over those folks like we have for many decades and centuries (by the colonizers) and it is in our interest to treat those folks with respect and dignity in the manners they want to live. If we wish to do "fair" trade with them then it would be mutually beneficial. But to rule them via proxy or directly... that era is over.

  65. It will be difficult to get rid of ISIS using the bombing approach which only creates more resentment among civilian population and more terrorists, before the entire Iraqi and Syrian population is exterminated. The best thing is to destroy their supply lines. How do they get their weapons and ammunition and their communication apparatus? Do we know anything?

  66. Abbaoud was essentially a lieutenant in a giant gang. Yes, they have all this talk of a paramilitary structure and organizational hierarchy, but Abbaoud was really tapping his network of other petty and serious criminals to accomplish these terroristic goals. It's pure antisocial instincts under the beard of religion.

  67. Was this ISIS who was behind the massacre in Paris or was it al Qaeda pretending to be ISIS, or were the murderers just a cabal of Jihadi legends in their own minds, who decided to commit mayhem on soft targets as independents. Whoever they are they, seem to have gotten the reaction which they wanted.

    Europe is turning on itself, but neither Europe or America seems to recognize that ISIS is a conventional military force, and that it must be defeated by a superior military force. Although President Obama has gone on for more than a year about the threat, we have hardly laid a glove on them, and there is no excuse for not having wrecked their oil refining infrastructure, since we know where it is, how it operates, and the routes tanker convoys must take to get oil to market. To make matters worse the US is still dedicated to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, which is the source of Islamic radicalism.

    It used to be that prisons went into lockdown when their was a disturbance in the facility. Then schools went into lockdown as a response to the mass shootings, which are an American predilection. Boston went into lockdown over the violent actions of a vicious 19 year old who was on the loose, and to carry the decadent practise of the lock down to its absurd logical conclusions: now entire Countries go into lockdown because of fear of Jihadi murderers.

    To give in to fear is not the way to fight crime or the Jihadi army of ISIS lunatics. We have become ridiculous, while they flourish!

  68. Do not understand why it took so long to recognize this threat. Is everyone asleep?

  69. Isn't it the similar in nature to have "special forces" soldiers and agents running around in the Middle East to having these ISIS terrorists seemingly doing the same in the west? Let's not pretend these are random events we did not know that would happen.

    I would suggest thinking seriously about pulling out all Western European and North American military (including Russian) out of middle east and let them sorth themselves out. Since the oil was discovered more then a hundred years ago, West have been complicit in minipulating the Middle East and its peoples by force and deceit. Isn't it time to cut and get out????

  70. One day ISIS will be gone. Al-Qaida will be gone too. But how about the echo-system that breeds organizations of their kind ? How about the catalysts that expedites the process? Can we even agree on what they are? Why they seem to be so subjective? Why the decision makers, like state heads, politicians, analysts, etc., looking at the same sets of incidents, are interpreting them differently?
    Suppressing the symptoms will work temporally , we need to cure the disease.

  71. I guess there are two types of competing hypotheses: (1) ISIS isn't so much changing tactics but taking things to the next phase. The next phase involves striking the unbelievers abroad; (2) ISIS has shifted tactics, because it is being rolled back on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. It needs to make ostentatious strikes abroad to keep up the coolness of its brand.

    I lean toward the later explanation. And, if it makes for a reasonable think of things, then a few conclusions follow. First, don't give Putin a get-out-of-jail-free card for his mischief in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Second, scale up support for the folks who are doing most of the rolling back, the Kurds. (Never mind that the Kurdish PKK is avowedly Marxist or that the Turks are wary of the Kurds.) Finally, increase material support for refugees in or near Syria. Make it easier for folks to stay close to home rather than inducing them to travel far away.

  72. This is why people don't trust government assurances on how perfectly safe it is to take in Syrian refugees: it has been wrong on so much for so long, especially with regard to the Middle East and terrorism, and displayed much more interest in making itself look good to the public rather than actually safeguarding the public-why should anyone take their word on anything else?

    Hollande got a modest bump-up in his dismal polls for his handling of the crisis in France, but Le Pen and the FN got a much nicer one. Merkel, according to Der Spiegel, is being forced to introduce "quotas" on immigration in order to show she has control of the floods coming through the sluicegate she opened. Photo show a somber woman more upset about the possible end of Schengen than about the dead in France. Hollande will stand or fall in the French elections on his ability to stand up to Merkel and Brussels on a return to rigorous border checks (and eventually to national borders). There is no doubt now that one of the Paris attackers came embedded in the chaos of the migrant flood through Greece. It's a matter of time before Swedes furious about the 200,000 Muslims that Merkel's "generosity" brought into their already fractured country kick Sven Lofven out and vote in the Sweden Democrats.

    Months ago, a journo warned IS was bigger, richer, and more intent on big terrorist attacks than people knew. He also warned they are looking for nuclear weapons. There's a first time for everything.

  73. Terrorist attacks are tragic, but viewed from a wider angle it's easier to see these as the desperate provocations that they are. Western civilizations lose far more citizens to injuries and crime than we can ever lose to terror attacks. These injuries and crimes are preventable in a tightly governed, repressive police state, but we value our freedoms so we tolerate the injuries and crimes. So to must it be with terror. If we strip terrorists' ability to provoke us into changing our worldview and way of life, we defeat them whether or not they continue to strike.

    On the other hand, ISIS governs territory today, and has been engaged in systematic genocide, rape - even child rape - and slavery. The world averted its gaze at Nazi Germany, treating the genocide as a 'regional problem' and explaining that there was nothing to be done. But eventually something had to be done, we mobilized and in hindsight declared, "Never Again." But here we are, and we dither as ethnic and religious minorities are herded into mass graves and their daughters sold as sex slaves.

    My prescription is thus: the world needs to put boots on the ground to eliminate the ISIS scourge of slavery, rape and genocide. But don't expect that winning that war will end terrorism in our time. Terrorism is the tool of the powerless against free civilization. It's the price we pay for that freedom, like car accidents and gun suicides and accidental shootings.

  74. "terrorism is the tool of the powerless ..."

    Terrorism is actually the expression of resentment by ideologues buying into dogmas of violence.

    "... against free civilization"

    Like any value, freedom can be abused unless it is sought in a way balanced by another value. In the case of freedom, that value is responsibility to others. I appreciate this forum for the facility it gives to debate the balancing of freedom with responsibility.

  75. Trump is right! How stupid can our leadership be?

    What has every Arab group focused on killing done to get back at the US? Why would asnyone in their right mind assume ISIS is any different? When did we start ignoring historical facts?

    What would you do if any country was lanuching air strikes against you in your civil war? lWe are talking about a 26 year old who has more common sense than all of our leaders in Washington.

    What would I do? Arm the Kurds! Take back the oil fields. Go after anyone who is supporting ISIS. Freeze their bank accounts. Starve ISIS out. Arm anyone who will fight them. Deport or jail any cleric or citizen who advocates violance against the US. Close our border to illigal immigrants regardless of nationality or beliefs. Insist that anyone here obey US laws.

  76. "Go after anyone who is supporting ISIS."
    Could you ponder for a moment to see who do you think is supporting Isis and who is supporting those who are supporting Isis? Then you will have a better idea as to what needs to be done.

  77. thanks for reading and commenting. You apparently have pondered but have said nothing about who!

  78. It is important to deprive ISIS of any territory, because this has boosted their status as founder of a caliphate.
    If "Europe has been taken by surprise by Daesh’s ability, determination and motivation to carry out such spectacular, coordinated and violent attacks outside the territory it holds", it's because many think the continent has been sleepwalking into the danger of Islamisation.
    Although ISIS focuses on consolidating its control over seized areas in Iraq and Syria, it still wants to demonstrate its influence on Muslims abroad by exporting terrorism. It can rely on a vast network of radicals and extremists in non-Muslim countries, who really are impressed by the idea of "state-building" and want to make contributions to the caliphate.

  79. Barack Obama's red line on Syria was drawn with invisible ink.

  80. The front story here is a bit incredible. Oh, we thought that ISIS was strictly a phenomena neatly limited to one region; sounds amazingly naive and politically self serving given the pronouncements about successful containment vis a vis the current incremental strategy.

    We certainly knew that this terrorist franchise was innovative, robust, ambitious, and aggressively expanding into Africa and to the East beyond Afghanistan.

    So ISIS, or ISIL, or Daesh, or whatever you choose to call the self proclaimed state (Aren’t most states self-proclaimed?), or caliphate is now in a bloody global competition with Al Qaeda and other groups for the top international terrorist spot. How is it that this was invisible as well? Seems there was a flawed presumption that ISIS would simply eclipse the former terrorist big dog and just keep to slugging it out in Syria and Iraq.

    No surprises too given the ratcheting up of the western anti-ISIS interdiction in Syria and Iraq with ever increasing military pressure from both the U.S. led coalition, Russia and the Kurds. ISIS is clearly being damaged and loosing ground.

    Add the mostly low ISIS success rate with their efforts to prompt foreign adherents, so called lone wolves, to generate a wave of autonomous attacks in the West. If anything ISIS is highly adaptive -- so when Plan A fails, try B or C.

    This is what comes from being at war, but not being at war, after having tied one arm behind your back.

  81. My view of ISIS as a woman comes observation of how some very immature, grossly insecure men react to rejection and disagreement with their values. Men have always sought revenge. ISIS and al Qaeda have refined revenge to a fine art.

    There was a reason these lunatics chose Paris. It goes back to France passing a law regarding the wearing of hajibs and allowing various media blurbs that disparage (read provide facts) about ISIS they don't like, nor want anyone else to see or hear.

    So, they do what men always do: get revenge. They hate the west and every act of progress. Within that progress, they themselves do not fail to prove they are hypocrites. We use computers and cell phones..so do they. Allah didn't. So..all of their mindless blather about their religion can easily be disproven by not only the use of western devices but their high tech weaponry.

    In reality, you will continue to see these little angry boys pull their tantrums like little children for no reason other than imagined slights, rejection of their backward, regressive ideology and their need to use revenge as their only source of power.

    Once you see the revenge tactics employed by ISIS, you see where they are weakest.

    9/11 was al Qaeda's revenge and now Paris is ISIS' revenge. When you get fed up with grown men acting like barbarian savages with vengeful adrenalin pumping more revenge than a Texas oil well, you'll realize just how weak ISIS really is.

  82. Now, the most important objective should be insistence by the civilized world for the immediate resolution of the decades-long problem for creation of the Palestinian state. The "Israeli tail" has wagged the "United States dog" on this simple question of right and wrong for far too long.

    “Fortress Israel” is invulnerable to terrorist attacks from any source; the rest of the world is not.

    Two weeks ago, the E.U. enacted a means to criticize the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank by requiring items manufactured in these settlements to be clearly labeled. Consumers could express their disapproval by refusing to purchase. Netanyahu responded that the E.U. should be "ashamed." And, at the behest of Israel, 36 U.S. Senators endorsed a letter condemning the E.U. measure.

    The dominating political will of Israel in U. S. politics goes back to the first President Bush in 1991 (NYTimes “U.N. Repeals Its '75 Resolution Equating Zionism With Racism”).

    United States embassies around the world were instructed to put maximum pressure to secure the repeal. Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger said the repeal could "only help and not hinder efforts currently under way" to bring peace to the Middle East. Others warned that it would hinder the peace process by whetting the appetite of "Israeli extremists wishing to pursue their policy of creeping annexation."

    A half million Israeli extremists illegally occupy well-protected annexations dotted throughout Palestine, now.

  83. in reply to Tony Silver:

    I agree with what you wrote: "Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would take away much of the motivation for terrorism and the radicalization of Muslims in the World. Everyone [in Europe] been saying that for years."

    The problem is getting the U. S. Congress, the President, the major news media, and the majority of U. S. citizens to agree with this truth. Far too many Americans turn a "blind eye" to what the Israeli's have been doing to the Palestinians.

  84. After consolidating the local territorial base in Syria/Iraq the main purpose of the ISIS was first to hit the Western targets and then to expand their terror operations across the world. If the US or its Western allies, fighting war against the ISIS in Syria/Iraq, failed to grasp the whole strategy of the Islamic State terror group, or fed cooked intelligence by the local commanders and operatives it was not the fault of the ISIS.

  85. Maybe terrorism from outside is new for the USA but certainly not for Europe which has suffered both homegrown and imported terrorism as long as I can remember and I am seventy four. France during Algerian war had a long standing state of emergency against acts of terrorism from the FLN, Portugal had the Angolan National Liberation Front, Spain the Polisario and ETA, Germany the Bader Meinhof and Red Brigades, Italy both anarchist and fascist extremist attacks (Remember Bologna Railway Station), England the IRA and Moslem extremists. But in Obamaland it is all one big Rose Garden, ha, ha.

  86. Now that ISIS has sufficient territory to have a safe base for operations and confidently feels it can now also sponsor external attacks on the West, the West has to revise its tactics as well.

    First, the West has to take the safe base from ISIS. That means committing troops and maintaining a military presence for an extended period so that ISIS (or something similar) does not spring up again as soon as the military presence ends.

    Second, we have to find acceptable ways of intercepting people who would go to Western countries to carry out attacks. Political correctness is an ideal, but we cannot allow political correctness to be used against us. We should not be willing to allow the spilling of Western blood for the sake of being politically correct.

    Third, we have to recognize that Islam is much more than a religion. The religious portion of Islam is only a small part of the totality of Islamic belief. We had no problem fighting Communism as an ideology. We have to do the same regarding the non-religion aspects of Islam.

    Fourth, we need to appreciate that Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, can come in many flavors. We can accept the peaceful flavors of Islam, but we must eradicate the flavors of Islam that preach jihad and the killing of non-believers, which, by the way, includes Muslims who do not follow the dictates of Islam, such as jihad.

    None of this is going to be easy, and it will also take and extended amount of time. But it must be done.

  87. We could send troops, etc. till the cows come home. The only changes in the region since heaven knows how far back. Unfortunately, Bush and Cheney have taken existing problems and placed them on steroids, that will never be fully resolved no matter how much blood and money. Before the Iraq invasion, we had Afghanistan, which has always been a drain of blood and money for any nation trying to try nation building without a good understanding of the area and its people and how things have been for centuries.

  88. This lengthy analysis is all well and done but not a word about where Isis get their support and funding. In none of the articles in the media again there seems to be no word of who supports Isis.
    So shouldn't there be some lengthy analysis like this to conjecture on Isis' connection to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states? Or is that off the limits. We are not to talk about this.
    So one could even imply that America and UK by selling arms to the Saudis and the Gulf states and at the same time looking the other way as those guys support Isis, then one wonders if US and UK are actually trying to hurt Europe? Of course once this is introduced the immediate response is to label such ideas conspiratorial and consequently shut people up.
    So ERIC SCHMITT could you please see what you can do in this line of analysis. Or at least offer some concrete support that this is not so, and therefore stop all such nonsense.
    Thank You.

  89. "Carrying out attacks far from the Islamic State’s base in Iraq and Syria upends the view held by the United States and its allies of the Islamic State as a regional threat, with a new assessment that the group poses a whole new set of risks."

    Are you kidding me??? I ask you, how many people reading this article and commenting, regardless of political stripe, are surprised that ISIS is coordinating terrorist attacks outside the "region" and thereby pose more than a "regional threat"?? My bet is the % is really low. And if everyday common sense Americans simply watching and reading the news aren't surprised... how could our government security and intelligence agencies be surprised??

    And if we accept that the US government has come to a RECENT "assessment" that ISIS "poses a whole NEW set of risks" outside of the region, is it really so unreasonable and xenophobic of citizens and politicians to require those same security and intelligence agencies to slow down, reassess and double up their screening process of refugees entering our country from ISIS held territory? Why should we blindly trust their "assessment" of the adequacy of the refugee screening process when they seem to be admitting to not adequately "assessing" the terrorist threat ISIS posed outside of the region, something that was so obvious to anyone paying attention??

  90. Finally the venerable N Y T prints an opinion that does not follow the PARTY line. It is very refreshing and enlightening and you should do it more often.

  91. Rupert, very well said.

  92. Even though I don't expect the leaders of the US, or anywhere else, to immediately know the exact right thing to do in every situation, but with all their spies and counterspies and security data on everyone, they should be able to know what the world terrorists are doing! What's the problem? Why can't they keep track of all of these terrorists, 24/7? Possibly because they're not their priority and prime surveillance target?

  93. I appreciate that this article mentioned the Beirut attack in its opening sentence. It largely has been eclipsed in the media by the one in Paris. Perhaps this is so because it was not in the west.
    Since 2009 the boko haram terrorists have murdered 20,000 people, and displaced about 2.3 million. Again, not in the west.
    In 2014 approximately 32,000 were killed by terrorist world wide. ISIL and boko haram murdered about 6,200 each. I don't know if any were in the west.
    In 2014 about 33,000 Americans were killed by guns in the US. To my recollection neither ISIL nor boko haram killed anyone in the US.
    Since 9/11 the US has admitted 750,000 refugees from across the globe. I believe three, none from Syria, have been arrested/charged for terrorist-related activities. The Parisian attackers included individuals born and raised in France.

    Over the weekend the news shows were full of criticism of Pres. Obama's response to Paris. It ranged from focusing on a perceived lack of indignation, to out-and-out blaming him for what happened. Trump, and his ilk, were also prominently featured, along with polling showing that a majority of Americans oppose the President's strategy/handling of ISIL
    Finally, the same voices, including such prominent Democrats as Secy Clinton and Sen.Feinstein, who beat the drums of war prior to the invasion of Iraq, were at it again with respect to ISIL/Syria.
    I mention these things not to minimize what happened in Paris, but to give some perspective.

  94. I agree with those who say we shouldn't overstate and overreact to this threat. It's not just beating up a bunch of bad guys but also providing an alternative to what is already there, and in that sense, this is a massive strategic undertaking and I think the patient approach is the way to go. Also I do think Daesh is really a JV considering the potential for damage they can inflict relative to places like North Korea, Iran, Pakistan (which are middling) assuming they were our enemies, and Russia, India, China (assuming they were our enemies, again) which are at the top.

  95. Thanks to The Times for this informative article. When our president calls ISIS "a bunch of killers with good social media" he sounds naive. As the article presents the group, they are very smart, dedicated, hard-working, and better-organized all the time. They are also well-funded. The West needs to accept that ISIS is a real state, if only in its formative stage, and approach dealing with it accordingly.

  96. Is the CIA and NSA run by a bunch of political hacks? The same question applies to the Pentagon. Why are most of our so called leaders so vain and stupid? Trump is absolutely right! America is going to hell thanks to the Supreme Court voting in George W. Bush and opening the flood gates of corporate money that have totally corrupted our democracy. Obama, my hero, has lost his luster. He should have wiped out Assad's air force when Assad crossed the infamous red line. Putin would have done nothing except maybe invade Latvia but who cares!

  97. Latvians care.

  98. I agree with everything you said except for blaming Obama. I don't think it was fear of Putin. ISIS was born of the Iraq invasion and all the subsequent decisions made by those in the Bush administration. Putin recently had an interview with Charlie Rose and frankly, it was scary that he sounded saner than the republican candidates hoping to be the next president. What Putin said was that the US should rethink its policies overthrowing people they disagree with, who while not the best people, overthrowing them and making other bad decisions can cause chaos and empower groups that create less stability and bigger problems for the world. I held my excitement about the Arab Spring in Egypt when the celebrants looked like spring breakers gone wild shooting guns in a crowd.

  99. With George Bush and Dick Cheney, and least I forget-the Neocons, going all in when they invaded Iraq and then Afghanistan, all the while using their scripted "Shock and Awe" commentary for dramatic emphasis, and with the end result being our Veterans Hospitals filled to the point of overflowing, how can we not judge President Obama's action, and/or inaction, his follow-up strategy to that Bush Administration debacle, as his being handcuffed.

    Too much? Too little? Too slow? Too fast? Iran? IraQ? Syria? Russia? Afghanistan? Al Qaeda? ISIS? Taliban? Boko Haram?

    George Bush and Company kicked overt a basket of rattlesnakes, then turned off the lights as he slammed the door behind him.

  100. I understand very well that ISIS want us, the United States, and perhaps fate is closing in, and we’re to be reunited. This time, there could be no illusion: not nation-building but grave-digging. Iraq was handed freedom on a silver platter, and you sent it back to the chef. This time, every single cartridge would have a name written on it. It might be the name of a man, far better than any of us is or will ever be, paralyzed, with a hole in his throat, in order to breathe, through a machine, for the rest of his life. Or maybe it would be the name of a man who one moment was discoursing on Jennifer Lopez’s body and the next moment was dead—no particular reason for it, but there was a general reason: for you.
    There are many names, too many names, of those who will never fully heal, physically and mentally. Never. Today’s generation of American soldiers would learn the names of yesterday’s to deliver payback in full. For every American woman who must stay strong but cries in secret. For her child who will never understand his life.
    This cartridge would no longer even try to distinguish between evil and those who allow its triumph. In a warzone, there are no uninterested parties, no real innocents: everything one person does affects every other person. Otherwise inconsequential people are the instruments of fundamental forces, astronomic and microscopic. “What can I do?” you asked. Everything!→

  101. →Are ISIS giants? Have they angels protecting them? Has the moon been split in two? Has God decreed against His own laws of nature on their behalf? It is YOU who give ISIS victory. It is you who hurry fate. They are respected because they stand up; you woof, and bluff your only friends. It’s hard to fault a man for saving his own skin, but it’s hard to find much good to say about him who sets his life higher than another man’s. Does the sun shine only for you? Is your blood redder?
    I especially hope you men who’ve simply run away enjoy your European travels—take in the sights, go to a few shows, and maybe one day open a Syrian restaurant. I hope one day, you’ll be able to look at yourselves in a mirror without wincing. I also hope you’ll think twice before ever opening your mouths to complain about how difficult YOUR lives have been.

  102. Daesh is still primarily a regional threat. Returning Jihadist extremists who were citizens of western countries from the civil war in Syria and the war in Iraq were always going to be a problem. The timing of the attacks on Lebanon, Russia and France were clearly no coincidence - they were directed at countries which have taken up arms against the organization. And we will have to continue to be vigilant. But Daesh is far from being 10 feet tall.

    In the US we remain very fortunate that the security measures put in place since 9/11 together with the fact that overall our Muslim citizens have flourished here at a level similar to the population as a whole make it far less likely that we will suffer the sort of trauma we saw in Paris - not impossible, but unlikely.

    Obama has the right strategy but it may need to be put on steroids and maybe a no-fly safe zone in Syria is an inevitable change that sooner or later we will need to implement. And we have a long way to go no matter what the overwrought rhetoric from Republicans and others. Almost everybody agrees that the ground army that defeats Daesh must be a Muslim one, yet the utterly pathetic Iraqi army which we poured hundreds of billion of $ into training and equipping, which is supported by Shiite militias and Iranians and helped by US air strikes, still can't drive Daesh from areas just 30 miles away from Baghdad. Even buffoon Trump would have trouble putting steel into those spines.

  103. I think it's a mistake to presume that the latest terror attacks are the work of the Islamic State. Most, if not all of the terrorists, were locals.

  104. I think the notion that killing the leaders of IS will cause its demise is foolish. There is an endless supply of bright, motivated young men around the world to take their places. As long as the resources are persons who accept they can and will die in the process of attacking non-believers, we won't win by making them martyrs. We need to go after the money and the arms, and we need to do a better job of integrating migrants into American and European cultures. Both can be done.

  105. Critics say President Obama's strategy to destroy the Islamic State isn't working.

    But while they bluster and talk tough, they have no real plan.

    Unfortunately, President's Obama advice of more patience is no longer viable. Because IS now has a safe-haven controlling large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria and the ability to conduct external attacks as the 11/13 terrorist attacks in Paris made clear. The time-line has now shifted - it's been moved up.

    We can't sit back anymore and wait. We have to take increased action, And if that means putting US combat boots on the ground, so be it.

    50 Special Ops forces won't do it. Neither will air strikes alone. Instead we need a multinational coalition of 90,000 - 100,000 troops - including the US, France, Russia and Arab nations such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. And the fighting has to be directed first at Raqqa in Syria where the leadership of IS exists. IS must be destroyed there.

    Yes, sending U.S. troops into combat in Syria would add yet another war to the list of Middle Eastern conflicts that have claimed American casualties. And there's still no off-the-shelf solution to the "day after" problem, no U.N. peacekeeping force or Syrian opposition body that can take over.

    But it has to be done - ASAP.

  106. Why is the US government spending trillions of taxpayers' money on military supplies and equipment when they can't even defeat a rogue army of maybe 100,000 soldiers? Is our government making armaments for a nonexistent type war? Or are they making armaments just so the manufacturer and seller can make a lot of money, and defending our country or allies has nothing to do with it? So, as a result, government doesn't know how to use them effectively.

  107. So many readers want to over simplify the situation with radical extremists. They insist it's Bush's fault or the west's fault and all will be fine if these young men had a job, money, and a future.

    Seriously?! How very naive. Most fighting with ISIS from the west come from well off families; they've had opportunities many have not. They don't hate the west because they don't have money or jobs. They hate the west because they adhere to a barbaric branch of Sunni Islam that started in Saudi Arbia in the 1700s. They have been attacking the west for at least 40 years - after oil made them 'rich.'

    I'm not happy about the war in Iraq or Bush's decision to go in. But he did take the vote to Congress, and they voted to go as well. Had we not gone into Iraq, do you really believe that terrorism would stop? That radical Islam would accept and tolerate the immoral, free west?

    As far as it being a 'regional' issue, it never has been. Why would it be now?

  108. Can we assume that both the leaders and the recruits of Daesh and other terrorist organizations imagine that they are making a better world? Although our ideas as to what a better world would be are all to some extent different, and terrorists' ideas are obviously vastly different and in my opinion tragically deluded, I doubt we would be able to uphold another assumption for long if honest discussions with terrorists were physically possible. So in lieu of that assumption -- an assumption that would put us all in one respect 'in the same boat', we typically make other assumptions derived from the particular ideology to which we have grown in some degree captive, be the ideology religious, philosophical, ethnic, regional, or linguistic.

    This is only to say that there isn't yet an agreed set of universal values that would serve everyone, of whatever background, to communicate with others. Nonetheless, my work as a coach in psycholinguistics has allowed me to sow a set of eight 'value disciplines' in three organizations where they are succeeding (after in excess of 7 years so far) in their aim of smoothing problem-solving conversation at every level and across gender divides. The eight are: Honesty, Verbal Integrity, Empathy, Accuracy, Clarity, Courage, Discretion, Coherence.

    You can find the definitions by which each of the eight spring to life in actual practice in organizational life at the following link:

    http://www.authentixcoaches.com/ACValues.html