A Global Strategy for Combating al Qaeda and the Islamic State

The Paris attacks are further proof that the West is losing the fight against terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS). Al Qaeda’s branches and partners have increased the territory they control in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and North Africa, and ISIS continues to expand its membership and its territorial holdings globally despite US-led airstrikes.

Al Qaeda and/or ISIS will carry out a mass-casualty attack against the homeland: it is a question of not if, but rather when. Even more worrisome is our assessment that, if we fail to stop the extremists from taking territory and undermining states, al Qaeda or ISIS will obtain weapons of mass destruction; then it will be too late to act. Preventing these outcomes will require a serious and prolonged effort, but it is an effort that is well worth the costs and risks for the United States and our allies and partners.

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