JUST A REMINDER… – It’s not just Manchester. If you follow the news, you would of course be familiar with these outrages, but just to recap the past few days:
In the Philippines, ISIS has taken over a whole town in the south of the country. The government troops have been fighting for a week to retake Marawi, with half of its 2000-population still trapped inside, and 129 dead, including 89 ISIS fighters. Just think about it: this is urban fighting, like Mosul, except on the other side of the world.
In Afghanistan, in Kabul‘s diplomatic district, a massive bomb hidden in a water delivery truck exploded during the morning rush hour, killing 90 and injuring more than 400. The Taliban have disclaimed responsibility, but there are many other contenders in Afghanistan, including unaligned Islamist groups as well as ISIS.
In Iraq, in Baghdad, two car bombs set off by ISIS killed 26 people, including outside an ice cream shop where the crowd was enjoying their post-nightfall Ramadan snacks. ISIS claimed they were targeting local Shia population.
Just as Al Qaeda used to be in the ’00s, ISIS is now the terror franchise of choice, operating in an increasing number of theatres of conflict around the world, superimposing itself on pre-existing terror and insurgency activity. Whether ISIS is winning or losing at the moment in its heartland of Syria and northern Iraq, in terrorism, too, nothing succeeds like success – propaganda if not military – of the past few years. Hence, not surprisingly, you see old terrorist groups hoisting ISIS flags in places as disparate as Afghanistan, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.