News / USA

    Anxiety Grows in Fight Against IS, Extremists

    FILE - An image grab taken from a video released by Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site via YouTube allegedly shows Islamic State (IS) group recruits riding in armed trucks in an unknown location.
    FILE - An image grab taken from a video released by Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site via YouTube allegedly shows Islamic State (IS) group recruits riding in armed trucks in an unknown location.

    Even as U.S. officials highlight military gains against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria, there is a growing sense of unease among former officials and analysts that the current strategies are not enough.

    Their fear is that while the U.S. and its coalition partners are degrading Islamic State's abilities on the battlefield, planners have yet to hit upon any coherent strategy to stem the tide of young people who are willing to fight and die in the name of Islamist extremism.

    "The threat of violent extremism is growing, casting its shadow over ever larger parts of the globe," former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned an audience Tuesday in Washington.

    "How do we defeat something that is plainly much bigger and more pervasive than the small number of those attracted to groups like Daesh?" he said. "There is a justified anxiety."

    Blair is joining a growing list of former officials trying to find answers and, along with Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and U.S. defense secretary, is co-chairing the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies' newly launched Commission on Countering Violent Extremism.

    FILE - Demonstrators supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) carry al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, June 16, 2014.
    FILE - Demonstrators supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) carry al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, June 16, 2014.

    The commission's goal is to provide Western policymakers with a "strong, clear and realistic" plan by July to combat the growing threat.

    Muslim identity crisis

    Blair said Tuesday that while a military component is critical, he believes what has been lacking is a way to undercut the ideology that allows violent extremists to thrive.

    "It has, unfortunately, a reach way beyond the activities of a few fanatics measured in the tens of thousands. The ideology, or at least significant parts of it, are accepted by those measured in the tens of millions," he said.

    "Some of those people actually oppose violence, but that worldview is, in my view, the soil in which the violence breeds," the former British Prime minister added.

    Complicating matters further is the success Islamist extremist groups, and especially Islamic State, have had in tapping into Muslim youths who feel isolated and disenfranchised, whether living in Muslim-majority countries or in the West.

    "Muslim millennials are facing a crisis of identity," said Farah Pandith, a former special representative to Muslim communities who is now with the Council on Foreign Relations.

    "They are seeking answers about navigating their identity and they're getting those answers from Shaikh Google," she said.

    For its part, U.S. officials say they have long cautioned that the effort to defeat Islamist extremist groups like IS would be long and complicated.

    "This administration recognizes that the threat posed by violent extremism extends far beyond any one region and it's not going to be addressed solely — or even primarily — by military means," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers Tuesday. "The approach that we've adopted is comprehensive and it's long term."

    Alberto Pimienta contributed to this report.


    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora