The horror that occurred in the streets of Paris on Friday could soon be repeated in American cities.
There are good reasons to believe that ISIS, the organization French President Francois Hollande blames for the Paris attacks, soon could carry out the same type of terror attack in the United States. Here are five:
1. ISIS itself has promised to attack America.
On Monday, ISIS released a video promising such an attack. A spokesman for the terror group made this statement:
“We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day God willing, like France’s and by God, as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington.”
2. Top American officials expect such an attack.
CIA Director John Brenan warned that other attacks likely would follow the Paris attacks.
“I certainly would not consider it a one-off event. It is clear to me that ISIS has an external agenda and that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks,” Brennan told a gathering of policy experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This was not something done in a matter of days. This was something that was deliberately and carefully.”
New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told NBC he thinks ISIS likely would target his city. He noted that New York is brimming with the kind of targets terrorists hit in Paris.
3. ISIS’ strategy is based on attacking Europe and the United States.
Harleen Gambhir, a counterterrorism expert at the Institute for the Study of War, believes the organization, which is also known as the Islamic State, wants to turn Americans and Europeans against all Muslims.
“Now it is using tactical skills acquired on Middle Eastern battlefields to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash that will generate even more recruits within Western societies,” Gambhir wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “The Islamic State’s strategy is to polarize Western society — to ‘destroy the grayzone,’ as it says in its publications. The group hopes frequent, devastating attacks in its name will provoke overreactions by European governments against innocent Muslims, thereby alienating and radicalizing Muslim communities throughout the continent.”
The ultimate goal, she wrote, is an “apocalyptic war with the West.”
4. ISIS is accelerating its campaign of terror.
Gambhir noted that since January, ISIS-backed radicals have launched attacks in Paris, Copenhagen and Lyon, France and attempted attacks in London. Officials also blame ISIS for a bomb that destroyed a Russian airliner in Egypt.
The next logical step in that acceleration would be to launch a major terror attack in the United States.
5. The United States has greatly stepped up its attacks on ISIS.
On November 12, a day before the Paris attacks, The New York Times reported that the US and its allies had sharply increased attacks on oil fields in Syria that are one of the Islamic State’s major sources of money. The fields generate $40 million a month — money without which ISIS cannot survive. “We intend to shut it all down,” Col. Steven H. Warren, a military spokesman in Baghdad, told The New York Times. This could harm ISIS in the long-term but escalate any counter-reaction in the short-term.
Also last week, US officials announced they were reasonably certain that an airstrike had killed the notorious ISIS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, a British subject who killed victims in videos. Around the same time it was also announced that ISIS’s commander in Libya had also been killed by a US airstrike.
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