ISIS in North Africa

One of the greatest threats in the past five years United States, has had to deal with is The Islamic State, also known as ISIS. The terrorist organization that I have chosen to further research is ISIS in North Africa. ISIS is one of the most hated terrorist groups that is affecting the U.S. and countries across the world. ISIS has made their mark throughout the Middle East but I have decided to focus their expansion on their expansion into North Africa. The reasoning behind ISIS expanding into North Africa is because they are being pushed out of the Middle East. ISIS is able to reside in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara because of the ungoverned spaces filled with a vast amount of desert and mountain terrain. ISIS is highly emphasized by their mark that they have left on the United States, but it is important to also highlight their impact that they are currently making.

The creation of ISIS by Al-Zarqawi and the evolution of their tactic has not only put great strain on the American people but also has resulted into the expansion of ISIS in different parts around the world. In 2015, ISIS reported to be the deadliest terrorist group, killing 6141 people. In 2016, it was reported ISIS increased their kill spree by 2,800 deaths. (1). ISIS is now making headlines as they are making their expansion to the North African region because of lost territory in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is taking advantage of the desert terrain and ungoverned areas in North Africa in order to take over.

ISIS grew through its overtaking power on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. ISIS has been able to heavily recruit other Muslims and American’s through these platforms by expressing their ideology and propaganda. Twitter is the most commonly used platform as it easy for members to post tweets and reach out to others. The U.S. Government, international governments, and local authorities have found it difficult to track down accounts because they are unsure if they are real or fake. (3). ISIS does not have a specific demographic, age, or ethnicities that they choose to recruit. There have been many cases of Americans converting to Islam to participate in ISIS’s movement. (4). ISIS members first establish a relationship with an individual who has some form of isolation because they are easily persuaded and likely to share personal information. Once a relationship has been formed, they then manipulate the individual by showing graphic images and or videos of individuals in Iraq being massacred by the West. After the individual is compelled to join ISIS, ISIS members walk them through the process on how to convert to Islam buy a plane ticket, acquire a passport, and successfully arrive to their territory. (5). Once an individual arrives to the desired location, it then becomes apparent that ISIS is not what they said who they really are.

Today there are a total 74 members, that are made of 70 nations and four international organizations, which include the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Arab League, and INTERPOL. (6). While over 90 countries engage in meetings, there are some countries that find it disturbing how they take down ISIS, but understand because they are a threat to their homeland. (7). The United Nations has worked along side the Iraqi and Syrian government in effort to provide aid for over two million neighborhoods that ISIS has liberated. (8). The Counter-Foreign Terrorist Fighter Working Group has used the efforts from Dutch and the U.S. to further improve information that can be distributed to INTERPOL.

For the past decade ISIS has been in the media about bombings, propaganda videos, and attacks that have encompassed all throughout the world. In the past week, the New York Times reported (9) that current strategies of ISIS are not working because of the efforts made by the United States, military capabilities, United Nations, and Iraqi government. ISIS has had to shift their strategies and has taken desperate measures in hopes to still keep their efforts relevant. For the most part, their recruitment tactics have stayed the same, but we have seen some slight change. ISIS fighters in North Africa tend to now be younger North Africans or leaders that have been sent by dominant leadership. (10). Due to the advancement of technology, analyzation of patterns and trends of media, major governments and local authorities have been able to quickly detect who is trying to join ISIS. In 2017, the UK Government lowered their travel warnings for Tunisia, because of security advancement. Other countries such as Morocco and Algeria, remain on high alert because of constant violence they face. (11).

In recent years, The United States and Military capabilities have been key influencers when pertaining to ISIS. In order to protect our National Security and borders, diminishing ISIS has become one of the top priorities of the U.S. Government as well as international governments. The U.S. Army Forces Command has added the African region, including North Africa as a combat deployment unit to in effort to combat ISIS. (12). The U.S. Army Special Force’s main mission entails traveling to foreign countries to train foreign allied nations but they are now changing their operations to destroy ISIS. (13). As of March 2018, President Donald Trump has commanded a total of eight Airstrikes against ISIS in Lybia, which is the highest number of operations carried out in any presidency term against a terrorist organization. (14) In 2015, a bill was introduced into the Senate; “Defeat ISIS and Protect and Secure the United States Act of 2015.” This bill emphasizes a joint effort of agencies throughout the Intelligence Community to work diligent in order to protect our nation. (15).

ISIS is very powerful and strategic in how they want to pursued and antagonize all around the world. In the past decade the United States and Foreign Governments have come a long way in diminishing ISIS. With new counterterrorism measures being implemented, ISIS is going to have to completely change their tactics or be completely defeated.

Notes

1. “Global Terrorism Index-2017.” Global Terrorism Index- 2017, 2017,: 20.

2. “Armed Conflict Database.” International Institute for Strategic Studies, acd.iiss.org/member/conflicts.aspx?id=271&type=2&archived=False&page=2.

3. “An Overview of ISIS-Islamic Networks Group.” ING Educating for Cultural Literacy

and Mutual Respect.

4. “An Overview of ISIS-Islamic Networks Group.” ING Educating for Cultural Literacy

and Mutual Respect.

5. Pamela Quanrud. “The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS: A Success Story.” American

Foreign Service Association, (2018).

6. Pamela Quanrud. “The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS: A Success Story.” American

Foreign Service Association, (2018).

7. Pamela Quanrud. “The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS: A Success Story.” American

Foreign Service Association, (2018).

8. Eric Schmitt. “Under Trump, U.S. Launched 8 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Libya. It

Disclosed 4. The New York Times, March 8, 2018.

9. Alex Thurston. “North Africa’s Jihadis.” Wilson Center, April 6, 2018.

10. Alex Thurston. “North Africa’s Jihadis.” Wilson Center, April 6, 2018.

11. Greg Myre. “The Military Doesn’t It, But U.S. Troops Are All Over Africa.” NPR,

April 28, 2018.

12. Nick Turse. “The U.S. Carried Out 674 Military Operations in Africa Last Year. Did

You Hear About Any of Them?” The Nation, April 14, 2015.

13. Eric Schmitt. “Under Trump, U.S. Launched 8 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Libya. It

Disclosed 4. The New York Times, March 8, 2018.

15. U.S. Congress, House, Defeat ISIS and Protect and Secure the United States Act of

2015, S.2377, Cong., 114th sess., Introduced in House December 9, 2015,

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2377

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