Prosecutions linked to the hundreds of open Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) cases across the United States have significantly dropped this year amid the lingering national security threat posed by the remnants of the jihadist group remaining after the losses sustained in Iraq and Syria.
The four ISIS-affiliated indictments or guilty pleas in American courts so far this year are on track to dramatically fall behind the peak of 57 prosecutions in 2015, CNN reports, adding that, between 2015 and 2017, the number of indictments or guilty pleas dropped by more than half, from 57 to 26.
In December, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers, “As we speak, the [FBI] has about 1,000 active ISIS investigations in all 50 states.”
While the FBI may be pursuing hundreds of ISIS cases, it hasn’t been prosecuting radical Islamic extremists at a steady clip this year. The total number of publicly revealed ISIS indictments or guilty pleas in 2018: four. The total number of publicly revealed ISIS arrests in 2018: one.
A CNN analysis of court documents and government news releases shows a dramatic drop in ISIS prosecutions in 2018, the longest stretch of quiet since the government designated the Islamic State as a foreign terrorist organization four years ago.
The peak year for ISIS prosecutions in the US was 2015, when 57 people were charged with material support or related offenses … In 2016, the number of prosecutions fell to 34. The decline continued in 2017, with 26 indictments or pleas in ISIS cases.
CNN acknowledges that there may be more than four ISIS prosecutions and one arrest this year, but the data is not available to the public.
According to various independent and government assessments, including by the Institute for the Study of War and global security research firm IHS Markit, ISIS’s footprint in Iraq and Syria has been reduced from swathes of territory to pockets along the border that separates the two countries.
The low number of arrests may stem from the ruinous blow the U.S.-led coalition and local forces dealt ISIS in its former caliphate in Iraq and Syria under American President Donald Trump’s watch. ISIS’s caliphate was once considered the group’s top recruiting tool.
Echoing the U.S. military, IHS Markit reported in January:
The quantity of propaganda materials released by the Islamic State’s official social media channels decreased by 62 percent across 2017 … The reduction in official Islamic State propaganda output coincides with the collapse of the group’s so-called ‘Caliphate’, which shrunk by 89 percent from 60,400 km 2 in January 2017 to 6,500 km 2 in January 2018.
The U.S. military asserts that ISIS has lost “more than 90%” of the territory it once held.
U.S. Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, Pentagon spokesman, told Breitbart News that the American-led coalition and local forces have reduced ISIS to a “small” presence in Syria.
However, he cautioned that “much work remains,” a testament to the menace ISIS still represents.
Islamic terrorist groups encourage their supporters to engage in jihad, arguing that God especially values the act during Ramadan.