The Islamic State is celebrating the two year anniversary of its self-proclaimed caliphate. A few days ago, the group released a video entitled “Two Years Since the Caliphate.” As a follow-up, yesterday they released an English language infographic similarly titled “Two Years Since Announcing the Caliphate.”
The infographic brags about all the countries in which they have control or presence.
Not surprisingly, they list Iraq and Syria as the “Areas of Major Control.”
The next category is “Areas of Medium Control,” which according to them are Chechnya, Yemen, Egypt, Nigeria, Libya, Somalia, the Philippines, Niger, Afghanistan, and the Russian federal subject Dagestan.
The definition of “medium” is a bit shaky, as they even count countries where the most they have done is launch terrorist attacks. Or, in the case of Nigeria, where terrorist attacks have been carried out by Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to ISIS. And Chechnya, where there has been no terrorist attack by ISIS, presumably counts because around two thousand Chechens have gone to Syria to join the group.
Finally there are the “Areas with Presence of Covert Units”: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Algeria, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh.
Two things stand out about the last category. For one, they are arguably undermining the covertness of their “covert units” by announcing their locations.
And secondly, one country noticeably did not make the list: the United States.
ISIS, perhaps inadvertently, seems to be admitting that they have no presence in America.
What might that imply? Maybe that there is no organized cell within the US. Indeed, that would be consistent with the dearth of evidence for one. So far, America has only been home to some “lone wolf” attackers, some ISIS supporters who traveled to Syria to join the group, and some knuckleheads who “tried to join ISIS” via FBI entrapment and would never have managed otherwise.
Also, considering that ISIS claims presence or control in areas by merely having launched terrorist attacks there, they are also implying that they had no involvement in the handful of lone wolf attacks in America. This is ironic, since they usually take credit anyway for those attacks. Perhaps, then, they are being a bit more honest?
Of course, the lack of a self-proclaimed presence does not preclude the possibility that a terrorist attack could happen in America. Indonesia and Belgium are also not on the list, despite being the two other countries where there have been terrorist attacks that were carried out directly by ISIS (not a lone wolf); and where ISIS seems to have a physical presence.
Indeed, another recent video specifically claims the group is planning attacks on San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Another possibility is that ISIS, if they are clever enough, is trying to throw off the world’s intelligence communities by not disclosing a cell in America. Nevertheless, that is a bit of a stretch.
It seems ISIS is instead saying that, unlike other countries, there is no physical presence by them directly in America. Presumably they are relying more on lone wolves like Omar Mateen to do the heavy lifting here.
Did they mean to let that slip out? That is unclear.
Copyright notice: Infographic is intellectual property of the Islamic State. If they object to its use they may contact Thought Front.