To address the essence of the threat, counter-terror policy must expand to address the rhetoric, physical structures, and procedural boundaries that confirm the violent jihadist narrative and victimize innocents caught between extremists, security agencies, and popular emotion.
The recent wave of international terror attacks committed by the Islamic State (IS) — in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and France — mark a significant departure from the group’s past strategic approach. For much of its existence, most notably under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, IS’s overriding priority has been state-building. Localized terrorism in Iraq and Syria, widely used by the organization as it transitioned from an insurgency to a proto-state, has been employed as a method of population control.
In a lecture to field grade officers at the U.S. Army War College in 1981, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell Taylor described strategy as the sum of ends, ways and means; where ends are the objectives one strives for, ways are the course of action, and means are the instruments by which they are achieved.