by Jennifer Buss and Unnati Mehta
Moments of silence are not enough. Tighter restrictions on borders, airports, and subway systems are not enough. It is now time to stand up against a terrorist group that has slowly but surely increased its presence in the global sphere. This increase has gone uncontrolled because concrete action has not been taken; it is a true shame that two of the perpetrators involved in the Paris attacks were on the watch list for possible terrorist motivations. Action must be taken.
Our short-term response to the Paris attacks was relatively straightforward. Providing intelligence on ISIS bases to France for air strikes was simple. It is the long-term response that will be exponentially more difficult. However, the decisions made now will shape our future; the terrorist agenda must be halted in its tracks with conviction and decisive action. On Saturday, several raids were carried out in Brussels, and police made at least three arrests. Additionally, Bavarian police arrested a man at the Austrian border who had explosives and weapons hidden in various parts of his car. These are just some of the people believed to be involved in the Paris attacks. There may be many more at large. We have the ability to track and find them, and we must do so.
ISIS is not contained in Syria or anywhere in the world. While single targets, such as “Jihadi John,” may have been eliminated, there will be new recruits because of these individual deaths. All the other surviving ISIS members will take additional action because of such deaths. It is therefore important to approach this group tactically, guided by strong, capable leadership. Our agenda should include gathering updated and detailed intelligence, preventing new recruits, and deal blows that impact the very structure of the organization. The paranoia and fear that ISIS has created should be mitigated, and removing the group’s legitimacy can do this. French officials have already started referring to ISIS as “Daesh,” which roughly means “a bigot who imposes his views on others.” ISIS, much smaller than most perceive it to be, has relied on fear of its legitimacy as a cornerstone of its terrorist activities. Referring to it as an illegitimate organization can change perception of the group by governments and people, making shaping policy easier.
It is important to note that the not all the refugees flooding into Europe are the problem. These refugees were running from the same terrorist actions that happened in Paris. The refugees are being blamed for the actions of a few. The infiltration that comes with this influx is the problem. When the non-radical Muslim community, which makes up the vast majority of the religion, speaks out against ISIS, solidarity against terrorism will be more evident than ever before. Some Muslims have begun denouncing the Daesh through an open letter refuting the philosophy and violence propagated in their beliefs.
The attacks not just happening east of us. The attack in Paris on Friday was one in a series of attacks, with attacks in Anatolia, Turkey on Tuesday and Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Threats have been made to US cities. These are international attacks on international citizens, and they will not stop until we stop tolerating them.