Where Is Russia’s Strongman in the Coronavirus Crisis?
Putin Lets Local Leaders Take the Credit and the Fall
As they watched their vaunted Islamic State (also known as ISIS) lose ground to Kurdish advances over the past month, ISIS fanboys had fewer reasons to cheer or to make their way to Syria and Iraq. But then things started to change. First, in early November, a Russian airliner fell from the sky over Sinai courtesy of an ISIS bomb. Only a few days later, a twin suicide bombing rocked Hezbollah in Lebanon. Then, ISIS’ Paris attacks, an unprecedented multitarget operation, captured the media cycle for days. These events reinvigorated ISIS’ global media machine and sent a clear message to jihadists around the world: “Hurry up!”
In the days since, ISIS terrorists, caught up in a French and Belgian sweep, again detonated suicide belts in Paris. Meanwhile, terrorists loyal not to ISIS but to al Qaeda leader Aymen al-Zawahiri and opaquely connected to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)