17:28 GMT01 March 2021
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    While the Obama administration is celebrating gains against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, some officials are warning that the terrorist organization is far from being stopped, and the counter-terrorism efforts could actually push Daesh to attack more Western targets.

    Soldiers from the Syrian army carry a rocket to fire at Daesh positions in the province of Raqqa, Syria
    © AP Photo / Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda
    Specifically, intelligence officials warn that the group's losses in Fallujah and other areas will turn Daesh, also known as ISIS/Islamic State, toward violence against soft targets in the United States and Europe. Since their losses were primarily due to Shi'ite and Kurdish fighters, it also threatens to legitimize the terror group in the eyes of Sunni Muslims.

    "We can expect [Daesh] to harass local forces that are holding cities it previously controlled, thereby drawing out battles into protracted campaigns,” an intelligence official speaking anonymously to Reuters stated.

    Seizing territory in regions of Iraq and Syria allowed the group to collect funds through taxes and oil, and provided them a geographical base. Seth Jones, an analyst with the RAND Corp, told Reuters that the loss of these areas could lead them to adopt an increasingly guerilla approach to warfare.

    “It looks like the areas that [Daesh] has lost, they are generally abandoning, and that would mean preparing to fight another day,” he said.

    Last week, CIA Director John Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee that efforts to reduce the capability and global reach of Daesh are failing.

    "The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses of territory, manpower, and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly,” he said.

    At Tuesday’s Senate Homeland Security committee meeting, Hassan Hassan, a terrorism expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London explained that the Orlando attack proves that the group is still appealing to “lone wolves” who pose a significant threat.

    “They became a strong organization because of the political failure,” Hassan said. “My fear is that there’s so much focus on the military component, rather than on the political, and social and religious dimensions.”


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