Thirteen years after 9/11, ISIS threat looms

Thirteen years after 9/11, ISIS threat looms

Thirteen years after 9/11, ISIS threat looms
September 10
23:31 2014

Dalton LaFerney / Senior Staff Writer

It has been 13 years since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but the world has not forgotten the memories and aftershock of the attacks as groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have created reminders of the deadly biddings of terrorism.

More than 3,000 people were killed during the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and aboard United Airlines flight 93.

Nineteen terrorists from Saudi Arabia entered the country, financed by al-Qaeda. They boarded four flights at East Coast airports, sneaking on knives to carry out the hijackings. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 hit the Trade towers; American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon; and Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field when passengers tried to overtake the hijackers.

Today, the world still sits in fear of continued violence from terrorist groups. After the beheading of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, President Barack Obama spoke of retribution, just as former President George W. Bush did 13 years ago.

“Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served,” Obama said.

To war

On Sept. 20, 2001, President Bush declared a “war on terror” on national television in front of a joint session of Congress. In his speech, he told the nation that justice would be done and that enemies of freedom committed an act of war against the United States.

“Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen,” he said.

Bush gave an ultimatum to the Taliban to give up known al-Qaeda fighters and intelligence, but it did not oblige.

In October 2001, the global War on Terrorism began with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as coalition forces drove out the Taliban from Afghanistan. The group retreated to Pakistan only to return.

The war in Afghanistan has continued with President Obama vowing to withdraw ground troops by the end of 2016. Throughout the conflict with the Taliban, the U.S. has been suspicious of neighboring Pakistan, the country where Navy SEALS killed bin Laden in 2011.

In March 2003, coalition forces invaded Iraq in what became the Iraq War, in the hunt for weapons of mass destruction that have long been disputed. Experts and studies, and eventually U.S. intelligence, showed no such weapons existed. Still, Bush proclaimed the invasion part of the War on Terror.

The initial invasion captured Baghdad and President Saddam Husseinon part of the War on Terror. ction that have long been disputedbeen suspicious ofnd the conflict after 2003 when attacks in Iraq increased on coalition forces.

In December 2003, Hussein was captured by Americans, and in 2006 was executed as the war continued until the final combat troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.

But the extremist fighters were not yet destroyed.

To combat the growing problem of terrorist control, the U.S. adjusted its tactics to instead teach and spread democracy across the Middle East rather than pursue military assaults that cost 4,475 American lives in Iraq and 2,165 in Afghanistan, according to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report.

PTSD and the wounded 

According to the same Congressional report, 103,220 American service people were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from 2002 to late 2012. Between 2001 and 2010, 2.16 million U.S. troops were deployed to post-9/11 combat zones.

A study by San Diego State University and Georgia State University in 2011 estimated treatment for PTSD-related symptoms costs anywhere from $1.54 billion and $2.69 billion, according to a Harvard paper.

The Iraq War resulted in 991 wounds requiring amputations. And 253,330 were diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, according to the Congressional report.

A new brand of terror 

When the U.S. ended its ground involvement in Iraq, the nation was thrown into a power struggle as different religious and fundamentalist groups competed for power in an Iraq without a strong government presence.

U.S. leaders warned that resurgence in terrorist activity would spring up if the region wasnation was thrown into a power struggle as different religious and fundamentaS. intelligence operations ended as well.

With the region unchecked and ignored, al-Qaeda based ideals grew with the emergence of a new, stronger rent religious and f

In 2006, a faction of al-Qaeda renamed itself the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) and began spreading the idea that Sunnis were infringed on by the Shiite-led Iraqi government.

In 2010, a joint operation led by the U.S. took out ISIic State in Iraq (ISI) and began spreadingronger rent religious and fBakr al Baghdadi, who served four years in an American prison camp.

ISI strengthened as al Baghdadi exploited the religious tension. It gained funding through under-the-table deals with the Syrian government, extortion and robbery among other things.

When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad lost stability of the country, ISI was able to operate from a base built in southern Syria. Civil war broke out in Syria, and al Baghdadi took advantage of the chaos, gaining support by offering aid to both Syrian and Iraqi people.

In 2011, it became ISIS, having rooted itself in both of the named countries able to operate from a base built in southern Syria. Civil war broke out in Syria, and al

But ISIS continued on in its conquests with a full-scale takeover of Iraq. ISIS captured areas with full military capability, imposing Sharia law and demanding full allegiance to al Baghdadi. Thousands of citizens and Iraqi security forces have fled the ISIS advance.

The group made its most dramatic advances in the summer of 2014, capturing 19 Iraqi and more than a dozen Syrian towns as well as posting videos of the beheadings of Foley and Sotloff.

The Obama administration has entered in a three-phase plan to end ISIS, said to be the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. The first phase was the airstrikes coordinated by the U.S., the second phase will consist of training Iraqi fighters to push back ISIS. The final phase, according to the White House, will be to fight ISIS strongholds in Syria. The Pentagon said it sees a 36-month campaign in the works.

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Obama said in a televised speech last night. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.”

These recent events bring back memories of that somber morning in September and many Americans fear the possibility of a repeated attack.

Terrorism expert and CEO of ERASE Enterprises Kevin Mellott told ABC 10 News that ISIS poses a very real threat of another attack.

“They’re not afraid of carrying out threats,” he said. “They’ve already given us a warning: If you don’t stop attacking, we’re going to kill. And they kept their word when they beheaded Sotloff.”

Featured Image: The South Tower of the World Trade Centers as American Airlines flight 175 crashes into it 13 years ago. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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