2015: The year that ISIS terrorists went global

From the blood spilled in the streets of Paris to the San Bernardino shootings, the world in 2015 showed its vulnerability to the brand of terror perpetrated by ISIS terrorists.

Over the past 12 months, the group that took root in Iraq and in the chaos of the Syrian war has turned its focus from territorial gains to hitting at “distant enemies.”

“The ISIS/ISIL … has gone global,” said Richard Barrett, a former head of Britain’s global counter-terrorism operations who is now vice-president of the New York-based think-tank Soufan Group.

Barrett told AFP that politicians find the issue of the ISIS group “really difficult to deal with.”

“The public is frightened, and that’s the point of terrorism — to make the public frightened. And it’s very difficult for the politicians to deal with a constituency which is frightened.”

“But at the moment, running around in circles and sending more bombers (to Syria and Iraq) is not solving the problem, it’s even making it a little bit worse.”

Perhaps the key difference between ISIS and the extremist groups that have gone before it, is that it can call on agents that it dispatches from its self-declared “caliphate” as well as sympathizers in the countries it is attacking.

As the year closed, even California appeared to have become a target, when the married couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in San Bernardino.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, the couple appear to have become radicalized alone before carrying out their rampage without having direct contact with ISIS.

The added threat comes from hardened terrorists such as the Kouachi brothers who in January carried out the attack on the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

Said and Cherif Kouachi had both been placed under surveillance at some point but had slipped off the radar and appeared to be no longer a threat before they suddenly launched an attack; AFP reported.

By Al Alam