Defeating the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) could lead to an increase in terrorist attacks in Western countries rather than a reduction, declared FBI Director James Comey.
“At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before. Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield,” he said during a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University Wednesday.
The FBI chief predicted that the U.S.-led coalition would eventually decimate ISIS but added that “through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of really dangerous people and they are going to flow primarily to Western Europe.”
However, he also said that some of those potential terrorists could end up in the United States.
The New York Times (NYT) reports:
He drew a parallel between this scenario and the formation of Al Qaeda more than a quarter-century ago, which drew from fighters who had been radicalized fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“This is 10 times that or more. This is an order of magnitude greater than anything we’ve seen before,” said Comey, later adding, “We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and in Paris [terrorist attacks earlier this year].”
CNN points out, “And just not in the West. There have recently been stepped up ISIS attacks worldwide, including in countries near its home base territory that has been shrinking due to military losses in Iraq and Syria.”
In May, the FBI director told reporters that the number of Americans traveling overseas to engage in jihad on behalf of ISIS has dropped dramatically to an average of one person per month.
Nevertheless, he noted that there are “north of 1,000” cases in which FBI agents are in the process of evaluating a subject’s level of radicalization and potential for violence, of which an estimated 80 percent are linked to ISIS.
There’s still a presence online, and troubled people are still turning to this and at least being interested in it. But they’ve lost their ability to attract people to their caliphate from the United States in a material way…
There’s no doubt that something has happened that is lasting, in terms of the attractiveness of the nightmare which is the Islamic State to people from the United States.
Various Obama administration officials have predicted that ISIS is on the road to defeat in Iraq and Syria. Some American and Iraqi officials argue that the increase in attacks by the jihadist group are a sign of desperation.
“The FBI director’s warning that the collapse of the caliphate will mean increased attacks in Western Europe and the United States mirrors a consensus among intelligence officials,” reports CNN.
Emmanuel Khoshaba Youkhana, commander of the Christian Assyrian Army known as Dwekh Nawsha, recently told Breitbart News that ISIS “is losing” in Iraq and will “soon be vanquished.”
Nonetheless, he added that their ideology will remain alive and kicking, noting that there is no strategy to defeat the ideals that motivate members of the terrorist group.
The commander’s Christian forces have managed to hold territory in northern Iraq’s Nineveh plains, despite repeated attacks by ISIS.
CNN notes that Abu Mohammed al Adnani, the terrorist group’s chief spokesman and ideologue, tried to reframe how ISIS defines victory in an audio message released at the end of May.
Defeat would not result from losing control of territory but from “losing the will and the desire to fight,” he declared.
One Western counterterrorism official predicted “a metastasis of terror as it becomes increasingly difficult for ISIL to hold on to core territories,” reports the news network.