State Department Report: Terrorist Groups Adapt and Spread

Terrorist threats are diverse and dynamic, making it difficult to counter them, officials say

WASHINGTON – Despite major victories over terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, they have not been stopped from spreading around the world.

This is one of the sad conclusions reached by the authors of the new US government report on terrorism..

An annual terrorism analysis released by the Department of State on Wednesday notes “great successes” in Washington’s counterterrorism efforts..

The document points to the defeat of the Islamic State caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the destruction of the former leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the elimination of Hamza bin Laden, the son of Al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden.

However, the report concludes that this is not enough.

“Despite these successes, dangerous terrorist threats persist,” summarize the authors of the report..

Senior US officials say the challenge is partly due to the “diverse and dynamic landscape of threats,” from jihadist groups to white supremacists, and the fact that the world relies on Washington as a leader in this struggle..

“The current administration has tackled terrorist threats that were simply downplayed by the previous administration,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Wednesday. “We are unwavering in our quest to bring terrorists to justice.”.

Other officials warn that another problem is that terrorist groups are adapting, finding ways to survive and expand their activities despite attempts to root them out, especially in the case of the Islamic State..

“We must remember to continue to exert pressure,” Nathan Sayles, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator, told reporters..

State Department Report: Terrorist Groups Adapt and Spread

“We are witnessing continuous evolution "Islamic State" from a structure that wanted to control the territory to a global network that spans all inhabited continents, “he added.

On Wednesday, the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program announced a doubling of the remuneration for the current leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Kurashi (also known as Amir Muhammad Said Abdal Rahman al-Mawla), to now $ 10 million.

Critics of Washington’s counterterrorism strategy suggest that expanding work in this direction, namely the search for key leaders such as al-Kurashi, is unlikely to lead to better results..

Some experts and former officials warn of the temptation to rely too heavily on military force as a quick fix..

“It is very easy to weaken terrorist groups. Once you get the information and deploy military assets in the right place, they are unusually easy to weaken, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told lawmakers on Wednesday. “But they are also very easy to rebuild.”.

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