On Monday, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office alleged in a motion for detention pending trial that Rondell Henry stole a U-Haul with the intent of ramming the vehicle into crowds of people at National Harbor in Potomac, Maryland. Henry was arrested on April 3 pursuant to a criminal complaint charging him with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. A motion for pretrial detention explained that Henry poses a flight risk and public safety threat by revealing that his actions were inspired by the Islamic State and the 2016 truck attack in Nice, France.
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Editor’s Note: What to do with captured foreign volunteers for terrorist organizations is one of the toughest issues facing Western governments today. (See my views on a current U.S. case here.) Human rights organizations are particularly critical of governments that revoke citizenship or otherwise try to prevent their citizens from returning. Robin Simcox of the Heritage Foundation believes this opposition is simplistic.
Fitna, a Failed Coup and a Squandered Opportunity to Undermine the Islamic State’s ‘Intangible Power’
Editor’s Note: The Islamic State seeks to project an image of strength, and that image has attracted many followers. In the past few years, the above-ground caliphate has collapsed and infighting is growing, but the group still stresses its prowess and leadership in its propaganda. Michael Smith II, a terrorism analyst who specializes in jihadist influence operations, calls for the United States to exploit the Islamic State’s internal dissent in its own counter-propaganda, playing up these divisions to further weaken the group.
Editor’s Note: Whether the Islamic State is out as well as down is hotly debated in the terrorism world. President Trump believes the group is defeated, but most analysts argue that it remains a major threat. How to measure defeat, though, is not given much consideration. Jacob Olidort of American University argues that the president basically has it right: If you look at a broad range of measures, the Islamic State is defeated and U.S. policy should reflect this win.
The Jan. 29 Senate testimony by intelligence community leaders highlighted a number of crisis areas that were of little surprise to most followers of the news: U.S. troops and advisers are engaged around the globe working with allies and others to address critical issues in Syria and Iraq, and managing threats from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and elsewhere.
In the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the Department of Defense announced a shift away from counterterrorism operations around the world to focus on major state power competition.
On Jan. 9, the People’s Defense Units (YPG) announced the capture of eight individuals, ostensibly foreign fighters for the Islamic State, in a series of operations conducted by the group near the town of Deir-ez-Zor in eastern Syria. Reportedly among the captured are fighters from seven different countries.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president tweeted to explain his sudden decision to withdraw the several thousand U.S. troops stationed in Syria within 30 days. Trump’s decision has a few potential positives, but overall the decision is a poor one—made far worse by the lack of a process and preparation.
The Department of Justice has released a 2014 Office of Legal Counsel opinion approving airstrikes against the Islamic State under the president's Article II authority as commander-in-chief. The memo is available below.