The military struggles of ISIS continue to be encouraging. The information gained from the Paris terror attacks continue to be alarming and attest to the group's threat.
ISIS is confronted by increased desertions from its forces in the Middle East, a combination of losses on the ground and the related disillusionment of naive recruits, many of them from Western countries. Since 2014, ISIS has lost an estimated 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria due to U.S.-led air strikes and improved ground attacks from a coalition of forces from Middle Eastern countries.
The continuing investigation into the November 13 attacks in Paris finds that the ISIS operation out of Brussels had access to large quantities of weaponry and employed sophisticated tactics and communications skills. The attacks on a restaurant and a concert venue also represented a change in tactics from the al-Qaida philosophy of targeting symbolic targets, like the Pentagon or World Trade Center. The Paris venues were packed with people and were essentially unprotected.
The Paris attacks were particularly unnerving because they demonstrated what a terrorist group with no scruples was capable of doing in a free and open Western society. Many of the perpetrators were killed or have been arrested and taken out of the fight, but there will be more followers. The continuing military success against ISIS is critical to keeping those numbers as low as possible for the battle ahead.