- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday said that recent “indiscriminate” terror attacks are actually a measure of success that the U.S. is having in combating the Islamic State terrorist group, saying the attacks are occurring as the group’s territory and resources are being taken away from them.

“What we’re seeing, I think, is ISIS actually lashing out,” Mr. Blinken said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Because against every way we measure this — the territory they control, the number of foreign fighters and fighters overall, the money, the propaganda — they are down against every single measure.”

“And unfortunately, one of the things that they do in response is to lash out with these indiscriminate terrorist attacks — suicide bombers, car bombs, you name it — going back to the more traditional model of terrorism. And it’s horrific,” Mr. Blinken said.

A series of deadly bombings rocked Saudi Arabia and Iraq in the past several days, with the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claiming responsibility for a deadly car bombing over the weekend in Baghdad.

The group also claimed responsibility for the recent deadly hostage standoff in Bangladesh, and officials have said the recent attack at Turkey’s Ataturk Airport appears to be tied to ISIS, though it has not claimed responsibility.

“And if you have someone willing to blow themselves up it’s very difficult,” Mr. Blinken said. “But in a strange way, this is a measure of the success we’re having in taking their territory away from them, taking the foreign fighters away, taking the resources away.”

Mr. Blinken said a year ago that messaging in online traffic was running 80 percent to 90 percent in favor of ISIS.

“Now, for every single positive message about ISIL, we’re seeing six or seven negative ones,” he said.

Mr. Blinken also said 60 percent of young people in the Middle East were strongly opposed to ISIL a year ago, compared to 80 percent now.

“So we’re seeing these actions have a real impact,” he said. “It’s actually producing a counter-reaction, because I think what people begin to understand, and what they’re seeing, is these people are not martyrs; they are murderers.”

“And that is becoming increasingly clear, and that is having an impact on their ability to draw recruits, to bring people into the fight for them,” Mr. Blinken said.

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