It's been a while since we've heard a lot about the so-called Islamic State. Since the "defeat" of ISIS in Iraq and the majority of Syria, much of the focus in the war-torn regions of the Middle East has been on: the ongoing pissing match between the United States, Russia and Turkey in Syria, what will become of the civilians whose lives were shattered during the Syrian Civil War, hostilities between Iran and damn near everyone, Palestinian rights, and what the Israelis have cooking in regards to Gaza and the protection of their populace from a variety of aggressors.
Would you be surprised to learn that ISIS is still kind of a big deal? Because it sort of sounds like the United Nations was. According to the CBC, a report from U.N. Terrorism experts says that ISIS is still doing fine, thank you very much, boasting as many as 30,000 members stationed in Syria and Iraq. However, after multiple ass-kickings at the hands of professional and volunteer military forces across the Middle East, they've decided to tone things down a bit. That overt, "we're gonna build a freaking caliphate" look of theirs? SO last year. Currently, ISIS is playing it cool by conducting covert operations in its bases of operation while the terrorist group regroups and rebuilds.
From The CBC:
While many ISIS fighters, planners and commanders have been killed in fighting, and many other fighters and supporters have left the immediate conflict zone, the experts said many still remain in the two countries — some engaged militarily, "and others hiding out in sympathetic communities and urban areas."
… The flow of foreign fighters to ISIS in Syria and Iraq has come to a halt, they said, but "the reverse flow, although slower than expected, remains a serious challenge."
While the rate of terrorist attacks has fallen in Europe, the experts said some governments "assess that the underlying drivers of terrorism are all present and perhaps more acute than ever before." This suggests that any reduction in attacks is likely to be temporary until ISIS recovers and reorganizes, and al-Qaeda "increases its international terrorist activity or other organizations emerge in the terrorist arena," they said.
It's a damn shame. A report like this from a legitimate joint like the United Nations, while no doubt accurate, will likely serve as a springboard for white nationalists, here and abroad, to launch fear-mongering, othering attacks on already vulnerable individuals seeking refuge from violent Middle Eastern and African nations. Being forced to seek safe shelter in the relative safety of Europe and North America trial enough without heaping more xenophobic bullshit on them, because of the potential actions of a few hateful, militaristic tools.