By Con Coughlin, Gatestone Institute—
As the Biden administration prepares to implement its new policy on the Middle East, it is vital that its preoccupation with reviving the Iran deal does not result in the White House overlooking the considerable threat the Islamist fanatics of ISIS continue to pose to global security.
Since taking office, the main priorities of President Joe Biden’s newly-appointed foreign policy team, so far as the Middle East is concerned, have been to consider the prospects of reopening negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear programme, and to establish a dialogue with Palestinian leaders, who spent the past three years boycotting President Donald Trump over his decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
By taking this somewhat narrow view of the numerous challenges facing the region, there are mounting concerns that the Biden team will not pay sufficient attention to the mounting threat posed by ISIS terrorists.
The most recent manifestation of the Islamist group’s deadly effectiveness was demonstrated last month when it carried out a double suicide bombing at a Baghdad street market that killed 32 people and wounded 75 others.
A communiqué issued by ISIS immediately after the atrocity claimed responsibility for the attack, which Iraqi security officials say was designed to cause maximum casualties and comes at a time when the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi is struggling with numerous security challenges, not least Iran’s continued meddling in his country’s affairs.
Moreover, the attack comes against a backdrop of increased activity by ISIS militants in Iraq. Prior to the suicide bomb attacks, ISIS insurgents were blamed for blowing up electricity towers in Iraq’s Diyala province, an act aimed at crippling Iraq’s already diminished electricity supplies.
ISIS has been waging a low-level campaign of intimidation in Iraq for most of the past year, but the recent increase in activity is evidence of a broader revival in the Islamist group’s fortunes after its attempts to establish its so-called caliphate were destroyed by the Trump administration’s highly effective campaign against ISIS militants, who surrendered their last piece of territory in 2019. Continue Reading….