Alwaght– The past few weeks and days saw the developments taking place dramatically for the ISIS terrorist group and its regional and international supporters. Many of the Iraqi cities were liberated from the terrorists and Mosul, the last stronghold of the terrorist group in Iraq, is being freed. In Syria, on the other side, Dabiq, a town in north of the country with a great symbolic significance for ISIS, was taken out of its control.
Such a situation and changes can usher in a new restructuring period for ISIS. The consequences of such power shrinkage are important for the West, especially that the threats posed by the terrorist group now can go beyond the restricted geographical boundaries of the countries it is active in, and it carries the potentials to of expanding sporadically to other places and countries, including the European countries.
The West’s major concern now is that what will happen to a large number of the foreign fighters of ISIS who will disperse around the world and away from their home countries. West’s concern comes from the fact that ISIS militants will shift into main security challenge for the Western security authorities. It is particularly difficult to identify those terrorists who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join other terrorists for fighting. The Afghanistan war in the 1980s is the closest example of today’s situation. At that time, groups of militants joined forces to battle the invading Soviet Union forces. This action of mobilization of militants built the grounds for later establishing of a network under name of Al-Qaeda. At the same time, the Afghan war raised groups of militants who moved to use the Afghan war experiences and overthrow their countries’ governments.
In some cases such militants looked forward to see a new war to get involved in, no matter where, in Algeria, Chechnya, Kashmir, or Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war gave rise to networks of militants who were in contact across Eurasia, North America, and Asia– networks that in next years offered Al-Qaeda bases to easily carry out its operations.
It is hard to predict how this process will be repeated. The nature and alacrity of the large numbers of the terrorists who went to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS for fighting the central governments in the two countries are different but the possibility of the threats is high. The threats, in fact, will be a mix of different factors. Actually, the threats coming from the organized terror networks are obvious. ISIS has well displayed its potentials in sending Europe militants who were blended in with the refugees going to the EU countries. This job is likely to continue through a complicated combination of the militants who found the days of war ended and so returned home as well as those who will be tasked with making networks and conducting attacks. For some time, tracking and making sense of who they are and then preventing their attacks in the future will be major sources of worry for the European officials.
On the other side, odds are that the terrorists from the Western countries, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Russia, and North Africa head back home. In some countries, the well-trained militants could enter in such big numbers that it is beyond capacity of the security institutions to watch and identify them. Failure in detection of them produces violence and instability in the society. In some cases, the Western nationals are the key victims of assaults.
As the various news reports emerge, the number of the terrorists who eye fleeing the so-called caliphate of ISIS is on the rise. Liberation of many cities in Iraq and Syria like Aleppo has dealt a big blow to image of ISIS as a powerful organization which bids to administer a caliphate with big cities, reducing the charms of the terrorist group for those who want to joint it.
The present time is exactly the time that long-term risks for West start flourishing in an array of ways. When the group is pushed out of Iraq’s Mosul, not only its dangers double but also the Western countries will again be distracted from its perils. The Western countries’ performance in Afghanistan and Iraq makes it clear that result of such negligence was emergence of several terrorist groups, most important of them was ISIS.
At the time being, the major threat for West is that with fast recapture of land from ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group will resort to attacks in the Western societies. This drives the West to continue pressures on the two countries’ governments in the battlegrounds. The US violations and setting hurdles ahead of the Iraqi forces that are determined to crush ISIS in Mosul lays bare such a approach. This is a long-term strategy that the West struggles to implement to restrict the crisis in West Asia region in a bid to prevent it from getting close to Europe.