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Is ISIS a Threat?

Reader comment on item: ISIS Is Not Islamic?

Submitted by Alex (United States), Sep 11, 2014 at 15:52

The president is actually like ISIS now: he just engaged in takfir by calling them un-Islamic! Abu Qatada and Omar Bakri must be so proud. In any case, I think a more important question is missed in almost all commentary on ISIS and the responses to them: are they a strategic threat to Western countries or to anyone outside the territory they control in Iraq and Syria? Perhaps in Lebanon and Jordan they could be, but I strongly believe that they present only a tactical threat to anyone else.

In the West, lone-wolf attacks by ISIS terrorists like Mehdi Nemmouche who attacked a Jewish site in Belgium seem more realistic than spectacular terrorism from ISIS, who have not had access (it would appear) to the sophisticated training and resources that only Iran can now provide. For instance, Iranian embassies are often involved in terror attacks that the Quds forces commit abroad--does ISIS have embassies as infrastructure for international terrorism?

Further, ISIS actually poses a mortal threat to those with such training: it assassinated the most senior Sunni jihadist in Syria, Mohammed Bahaiah, in February, and killed the leadership of the Ahrar alSham jihadist rebel group in Syria the day before President Obama's speech. One more point is that lone wolf attacks , which usually expose support networks due to lack of sophisticated long term planning and the tendency for those who engage in it to be emotional rather than professional, will actually force Western governments to deal with Islamist incitement in their own communities.

What does Dr. Pipes think--are we taking our eye off the ball by focusing on ISIS instead of Iran and alQaeda?

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I do agree that everything other than the Iranian nuclear program is secondary; and that we must remember among all the other drama that relatively quiet Tehran must remain the focus of our attention.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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