At this point, even President Obama accepts that ISIS is a threat, though not much more specifically than that. We may dispute how severe the threat is, but the vast majority seem to agree that something dangerous is on the loose.
What’s indisputable is that the “threat” is growing, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the Pied Piper leading its insurgence.
The full scale of Islamic State’s influence can today be laid bare as it’s revealed dozens of terror groups worldwide have pledged their allegiance to the barbaric extremists.
From militia lurking in the jungles of the Philippines to sleeper cells training in the deserts of Libya, a vast array of groups are now claiming to be operating alongside the jihadis’ notorious black and white banner.
It is clear the groups have little in common except their desire to establish their own kingdoms governed by a traditional interpretation of Sharia law. But they are united by one other common principle – they will do anything to realise their goals.
Among the atrocities to be attributed to these groups is the use of child soldiers, suicide bombings, gangland-style warfare, kidnappings and extortion.
Frighteningly, the vast majority of them have pledged their allegiance to ISIS either this year or in 2014, suggesting the group is enjoying a rapid growth of influence.
In total, a staggering 42 international groups are believed to have offered support or pledged affiliation to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the Global Terrorism Index, published last month by the Institute for Economics and Peace.
Those 42 international groups are spread out through the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
What doesn’t show up are individuals like Syed Razim Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who declared allegiance to the terrorist organization prior to the brutal attacks in San Bernardino. It also doesn’t account for the Tsarnev brothers, who detonated two bombs at the Boston Marathon, attended a mosque which now seems to have ties to ISIS.
So-called “lone wolf” type attacks won’t show up on such a listing, primarily because they’re lone wolf attacks. They’re also incredibly difficult for the FBI to uncover, since by definition they don’t involve a large conspiracy that agents can infiltrate. These, because they lack a group, aren’t considered part of ISIS and their terrorist network, which is now the most dangerous in the world.
The reality is clear. ISIS is a threat, and they’re all over and only growing despite airstrikes aimed at disrupting operations.