New Bin Laden Threat Emerges
Adam Shaw explains:
The report by U.N. experts, delivered to the Security Council and released this week, included startling findings about both terror networks. The report found that while ISIS had been defeated militarily in Iraq and most of Syria, it had rallied in early 2018 and still had approximately 20,000-30,000 members in the two countries.
The U.S.-led coalition in the region racked up numerous military wins against the group in 2017 and helped reduce its territory to mere pockets of Syria. At the State of the Union address this year, President Trump declared victory: “I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and in Syria.”
The U.N. report found ISIS, though, is in the process of moving from “a proto-State network to a covert network” that continues to threaten other countries, and its leadership is still in tact, under Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
Yet the report also raised significant concerns about Al Qaeda, which fell into the background amid the international attention on ISIS and its brutal tactics, particularly after the death of Usama bin Laden in 2011.
The findings concluded that Al Qaeda has retained its global network and has shown surprising resilience in the Horn of Africa and South Asia. Analysts believe it, once again, surpassed ISIS as threat in geopolitically important areas of the Muslim world, including Iran.
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