In the race for the White House, ISIS has dominated the conversation.
In November, the worst attack on Paris since WWII took place in the form of the horrific terror attacks, which ISIS took responsibility for, and the United States saw the bloody terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, which were ISIS-inspired.
President Barack Obama has promised to take down the terror group, which has now spurred the fear of homegrown ISIS-inspired attacks. In 2015, the United States, along with its coalition of 65 nations, increased its airstrikes against ISIS strongholds, in an effort to financially and practically cripple the organization.
How to take down ISIS has served to be the focal point of the 2016 election. GOP front runner Donald Trump said that if given the chance, he would “bomb the s—t out of ISIS,” and even proposed banning Muslims, or Syrian refugees from entering the United States, out of fear that they may be potential terrorists.
Will ISIS be as strong as it seemed in 2015 in the new year, or is there a weakening ahead for the group now that is a target of much of the United States’ military airstrikes and political weight?
“ISIS is losing ground in Iraq and Syria,” but are still dependent on creating a perception of strength, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a Senior Fellow and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Rare.
“2016 will be another year which is ISIS focused” for U.S. policy, Gartenstein-Ross said, but added that the heavy strikes have already impacted the group’s strategy. It is possible that ISIS will “try to carry out spectacular attacks abroad…including the west,” similar to those in San Bernardino and Paris, he added.
Gartenstein-Ross said that the debate among the presidential candidates on allowing in refugees is unlikely to influence president Obama’s policies, saying there is a likelihood that there may even be an increase in the number of refugees allowed in the U.S. in the new year.
With that said, it is also very likely that the United States will increase the amount of programs it launches in an effort to track social media activity out of fear of homegrown terror attacks.