However beyond the rhetoric about ‘act of war’ and avowals of international solidarity that followed, we – and the individuals we trust – have to face some very difficult questions which do not come with easy answers. I can only include some of them here with more coming in another post.
To date, has the American administration underestimated the determination of ISIS? How coherent a strategy does it have? Has President Barack Obama’s so-called ‘strategic patience’ failed? (It would be difficult to argue to the contrary.) ISIS mounted three tragic assaults in three countries in just over a week. That points to the need for a complete rethinking of American foreign policy and with it Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ doctrine
And what of the billions of dollars being spent on intelligence? The ISIS assaults on Paris consisted of three well-organized, thoroughly trained and armed teams and six locations. It involved recruiting and indoctrination of willing suicide bombers, selection of targets with maximum exposure to crowds and at a time (Friday night) when Parisians would be at these targets in huge numbers, organizing a support network for the terrorists, training and equipping them with guns, cars and suicide vests. How did all of that escape intelligence forces until too late?
And what of Western priorities in the region? The United States generally accepts Saudi Arabia’s concerns about increasing Iranian influence in the region. However in the broader picture, the global aspirations of ISIS and the potential resurgence of Al Qaeda arguably have a greater priority than Saudi Arabia’s nervousness about Iran.
And on a personal day-to-day level, can we each find that blurry line – especially when travelling – between not letting this dominate our lives while at the same time acknowledging that it’s fact of life?
More questions in the next post – including the impact on immigration and political discourse — none of them with easier answers than those that I have outlined here.
Al Emid’s fifth book tntitled What You Need to Know About ISIS – Terror, Religion, War and the Caliphate and set for release by Quidne Press goes behind the news about ISIS and what might lie ahead. He has begun developing a follow-up book set for release in 2016.