The Islamic State has been losing territory and converts. But it still packs a potent sting, striking Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bangladesh during the last week of Ramadan, which ended Tuesday. The death toll exceeded 300.
While most of those killed were Muslims, ISIS’ murderous rampage threatens Europe, the United States and indeed, the entire world.
And the international community should know by now that a concerted, sustained effort is require to defeat — not merely to “contain” — ISIS.
Otherwise, the Muslim world is headed for many more years of terrorism that will inevitably spill across borders and oceans.
Some of the most recent demonstrations of ISIS’ barbaric methods:
On June 28, three suicide bombers, whom Turkish authorities concluded were affiliated with ISIS, attacked Istanbul’s international airport, killing 44 travelers of different nationalities and wounding 240.
On June 30, ISIS terrorists killed a Coptic Christian priest and several policemen in Egypt.
On July 1, five gunmen inspired by ISIS took hostages in a popular cafe in the Bangladesh capital city, Dhaka, and executed 20, including citizens of India, Italy, Japan and the U.S. before being killed by police, who also suffered two fatalities.
On July 3, ISIS operatives detonated a large car bomb in a deliberately chosen Shia gathering area of Baghdad.
As of Tuesday evening, the death toll from that attack had risen to 215, with the number of wounded at more than 200.
It was the worst terror incident in Baghdad in more than a decade.
And on July 4, there were three separate ISIS suicide bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia, including one near Mohammed’s tomb in Medina that drew condemnation from across the Muslim world, including Iran.
There is widespread agreement that as long as ISIS controls territory in Syria and Iraq it will have the resources and base of operations for organizing, inspiring and supporting continued terror attacks like those carried out in recent days and earlier in Belgium, France and the U.S.
But there is disagreement in the U.S. security establishment on how to reduce the ISIS threat.
President Barack Obama responded to the Istanbul attack last week by saying, “We intend to do what’s necessary to make sure that these kinds of terrible events are not happening.”
Yet Mr. Obama has ruled out deploying U.S. combat troops to defeat ISIS. Instead he has chosen a policy of relying on local forces in Syria and Iraq to gradually shrink ISIS’ territory and resources.
As Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said recently, “This takes time.”
But how much more terror can the civilized world stand while ISIS is slowly squeezed within the boundaries of its ersatz nation?
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pointed out Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that because the Obama administration has no coherent strategy to destroy ISIS, “the next president will have to deal with that.”
This challenge demands substantive debate in the presidential campaign.
But regardless of who become our next commander in chief, a top foreign-policy priority must be forging a solid international coalition to defeat ISIS.