By Carly Jacobsen
As suspected by a myriad of military analysts, Operation Inherent Resolve, the desultory US air campaign against ISIS has done very little damage to the para-military organization.
This is certainly not a failure of air power alone, but the result of a lack of will and power projection by the US and NATO to fight and destroy ISIS.
IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre issued a report on October 22nd stating that ISIS attacks rose in the 3rd quarter of 2015 compared to the previous three-month period, both in terms of the number of non-militant casualties and the frequency of attacks.
Jane’s reported 1,086 separate attacks between July 1 and September 30 of this year, or a daily average of 11.8 daily. That’s up from 8.3 last quarter, representing an increase of 42%.
The attacks killed 2,978 non-militants, a 65% increase from the previous quarter.
Jane’s concludes that the true number of attacks was likely “far higher,” as the agency relies on open-source intelligence and only reports what can be confirmed definitively by governments, or attacks claimed by the ISIS militants themselves.
The uptick is significant in showing that though ISIS failed to gain a significant amount of territory during that time period, they remained capable of inflicting damage to targets around in the Middle East and Africa even in areas outside of their control.
“We’re probably more in a consolidation phase currently where the group is stabilizing gains its made and protecting those gains,” Matthew Henman, head of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, told NBC News.
Of the attacks outside of ISIS’s are of control, Nigeria was a main target, likely because of the presence of ISIS affiliate Boko Haram. Though the total number of attacks outside of the group’s “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq dropped, the casualties per strike rose considerably.
“This underlines the nature of the group’s insurgency in Nigeria and several bordering countries, with its operations characterized by mass-casualty operations targeting the civilian population,” the report noted, according to NBC.
Though the data set reported ends on the same day that Russia began its bombing campaign in Syria, the findings support claims that international efforts to roll back ISIS have fallen flat. Despite constant hammering from a US-led coalition, ISIS is still capable of carrying out constant attacks across a wide geographic area.
“They’re able to make daily life fraught and dangerous and insecure,” Henman added.
But ISIS still focuses on their home turf. The 902 ISIS attack in Iraq and Syria, which resulted in 1,780 non-militant fatalities, represent 83% percent of all ISIS attacks recorded over the period.
While ISIS attacks and operations are still centered Iraq and Syria, this report shows that the organization has so far successfully weathered the multi-national military effort to stop them and have even branched out to become a consistent global threat.