Orlando attack will have an impact on anti-ISIL fight
The tragic attack that left 49 death and more than 50 wounded behind in one of gay clubs of Orlando, Florida came as the United States-backed local Syrian forces have engaged into a massive operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) around Manbij area of northern Syria.
Although there is not much evidence proving that the attacker Omar Mateen had links with the ISIL, there are sufficient reasons to believe that he was inspired by the ideology the world’s most dangerous jihadist organization has been delivering since it announced its Caliphate in 2013.
This recent attack constitutes yet another form of terrorism as another consequence of the continued existence of ISIL in Turkey’s southern neighboring countries. ISIL’s terrorist attacks in the European continent as well as in Turkey have been much more visible and fatal after anti-ISIL coalition –composed of more than 60 countries- intensified its operations against the jihadist organization.
ISIL’s one of first large-scale attack was carried out in France in 2015 by mostly French and Belgian nationals who have been categorized as “foreign fighters” who have been trained in the jihadist camps in Syria before returning home countries. Foreign fighters who had organic ties with the ISIL’s headquarters in either Syria or Iraq ensanguined both France and Belgium in separate attacks in 2015 and 2016.
Cooperation between Turkey and European countries to stop the free travel of foreign fighters in and out Syria has given some results although there is still an important area on the Turkish-Syria border under the control of ISIL.
ISIL has also been hitting Turkey through a number of suicide bomb attacks in different parts of the country using Turkish nationals who have been trained in Syria and missioned to carry out attacks. Turkey’s efforts to eradicate this threat seem to be not so much useful because of the fact that security and intelligence apparatus have been demonstrating negligence in avoiding such acts. It’s on this ground that ISIL’s potential in Turkey can even grow and pose more threats to the security of its people.
Another form of terrorism that has been observed in the wake of ISIL’s birth is the “lone wolves”. This consists of terrorists who had happened to be along jihadists in different conflict areas but then commit terrorist acts alone but in support of that particular group.
The one in Orlando, however, introduces a new terrorist threat. Omar Mateen was born in the U.S. and has never been in such conflict areas fighting along with jihadist terrorists, obviously depicting a self-radicalized portrait what U.S. President Barack Obama called as “homegrown extremism.”
Of course, this humble analysis on different forms of terrorist acts as the by-product of the ongoing unrest in Syria needs to be detailed by terror and security experts.
However, most pundits would surely agree on the point that this growing violent extremism requires an immediate defeat of the ISIL and other such groups that managed to expand their area of influence in the greater Middle East and North Africa. To this end, the fight against the ISIL inside Syria and Iraq will require more commitment from all coalition members given the growing public pressure in countries that suffered from jihadist threat.
With months left to presidential elections in the U.S., this already heatedly discussed issue will become increasingly more on political agenda while ongoing military campaign would get boosted.
From the Turkish perspective, continued criticisms against the United States in allying with the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the anti-ISIL fight would likely receive less attention in Washington D.C.
Both parties should be more willing to give ear to each other’s concerns and find a common way to address this common threat before continued disagreements and misunderstandings would bottom out bilateral relationships between two long-standing allies.