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Lessons About State-sponsorship of Terrorism

Reader comment on item: ISIS Attacks the West

Submitted by Alex (United States), May 23, 2015 at 19:31

ISIS' threat to domestic security in Western countries does not fit the traditional model (if one can be said to exist) of state-sponsored international terrorism, as it does not involve embassies or spies in the country being targeted.

I think that the unpredicatability of ISIS' threat actually will make ISIS less dangerous than the more sophisticated terrorism of Iran/Al-Qaeda over time, for two reasons:

1) Law enforcement at all levels will receive more practice in antiterrorism.

2) By the same token, professional foreign spies and terrorists--who in the past have demonstrated the means to commit spectacular or even "mega"-terrorist attacks--can learn from the small adjustments that the police and federal agencies make in response to ISIS' tactics, in order to maintain their capabilities.

That said, I am almost certain that Iran can presently sponsor a terrorist attack in any Western country that would outsize the 9/11 attacks. The consequences of such an attack both would change international relations qualitatively and serve to explain why Iran hasn't committed such an act yet. The potential for armed conflict relating to the Iranian nuclear program in the next few years will make mega-terrorism in the West more likely.

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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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