EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Over a matter of days recently, ISIS adherents committed major attacks in Barcelona as well as stabbings in Siberia and Finland, and several other incidents remain murky. Analysts set about explaining how little Europeans know about fighting terrorism, with some even seeing these events as the beginning of the end of Europe. While that is blowing things out of proportion, it is true that ISIS will continue to wreak havoc in Europe even after the group is formally defeated. If Europe is to cope with the threat effectively, it will have to change its cultural approach to the problem of terrorism.
“ISIS” is an anachronistic name. It is an acronym for “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” but those aspects of the name have faded away or are about to. The “Islamic State” has ceased to exist. It no longer controls contiguous territory or civil systems. It is in the process of being wiped out across the Middle East: it has lost almost all its former holdings in Iraq and Syria, and its people are fighting for their lives in the few places they have kept hold of.
From now on, the organization will be yet another version of a Sunni terrorist group like al-Qaeda, whose only advantage is that the volunteers who fought for it in the Middle East have returned to their home countries and now have an easier time planning and carrying out terrorist attacks.
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