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Now that we’re less than a week away from WWDC, rumors of new iOS 16 features are starting to gain traction. iOS 16 will mark the next major release of Apple’s software platform for the iPhone, as well as iPadOS 16 for the iPad. Head below as we recap all of the latest rumors and expectations for iOS 16 this year, including new features, release info, and more.When will iOS 16 be announced?
As precedent indicates, iOS 16 will be announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. This year, WWDC will take place as a (mostly) virtual event running from June 6 through June 10. Apple will hold a keynote address on June 6 to kick off the event, and it’s during this keynote that we expect to receive our first look at iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.
Following iOS 16 being announced during this WWDC keynote, Apple will release the first betas to developers. Usually, developer betas are released within a few hours of the keynote ending. Apple will subsequently release a public beta that all iPhone and iPad users can access, usually sometime in July.iOS 16 supported devices
One of the biggest questions people have every year is whether or not Apple will drop support for any older iPhone and iPad models. With last year’s release of iOS 15, Apple maintained compatibility with all of the devices that were supported by iOS 14.
This year, an early rumor indicates that iOS 16 could drop support for the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the original iPhone SE. As for now, this is just a rumor and it’s unclear whether it pans out, but the source of this rumor did correctly report supported devices for iOS 13 and iOS 14.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone SE supposedly being dropped were first released in late 2023 and early 2023 respectively, meaning they will have received more than six years of regular software updates.No redesign in iOS 16
While some users were hoping that iOS 16 would mark the first major redesign in years, that doesn’t appear like it will come to fruition. Bloomberg has reported that iOS 16 will not offer an “end to end redesign,” meaning that the overarching design will remain the same again this year.
The last time Apple truly overhauled the entirety of iOS was with iOS 7, a redesign that was not without criticism and was scaled back massively during the beta testing process. Since then, Apple has made gradual changes to individual applications and aspects of iOS, but we haven’t seen a complete overhaul in one swoop since iOS 7.iOS 16 features
Bloomberg has said that iOS 16 will be a “fairly significant” update across the board, despite the lack of a redesign. One of the focuses this year will apparently be on notifications.
The rumored focus on notifications is interesting because Apple has made numerous changes to the iOS notifications system over the last two years, with the introduction of features like Notification Summary and Focus Modes. It seems, however, that Apple still isn’t happy with the implementation of notifications throughout iOS, and is planning more changes for this year.
Additionally, Bloomberg has reported that iOS 16 will will include new health-tracking features as well. Apple has made the Health app and its integration with Apple Watch a focal point of software updates in recent years, and it looks like that won’t change this year.
Presumably, new health-oriented features in iOS 16 will also tie into new health features in watchOS 9. Bloomberg has said that watchOS 9 will also include “major upgrades to activity and health tracking” this year.
iOS 16 could also include new features aimed at the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max launching later this year. According to Mark Gurman, iOS 16 “builds in future support for an always-on lock screen.” Apple was reportedly planning to add an always-on display to the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro, but scrapped the feature.
The always-on display would reportedly allow users to see pieces of information on their iPhone display at all-times. These “widgets” would be designed to focus on glanceable notifications, including things like messages and weather details.
Reports also indicate that iOS 16 will bring more “social-network like functionality” to the Messages app, with a particular focus on new audio messaging features.
Finally, for iPadOS, the sole rumor so far is that Apple is planning a new multitasking interface. Changes to the WebKit infrastructure suggest that iPadOS 16 could add a new “multitasking mode” that could bring freely resizable windows to the iPad for the first time.9to5Mac’s Take
Apple will officially unveil all of its iOS 16 features in just a few days at WWDC 2023. In the meantime, however, it looks like iOS 16 will be a relatively modest upgrade, with Apple focusing on quality-of-life improvements rather than major visual changes.
Personally, I hope to see Apple revamp notifications in a way that makes it much clearer and easier to see your latest notifications without awkward grouping. I’m also hoping for some updates to home screen widgets, particularly in regards to interactivity, and major updates to the Home app and HomeKit in general.
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It’s been a couple of months since Google’s grand Android 10 unveiling. Apart from Google’s Pixel lineup, a few other companies, such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, Essential Phone, and Nokia have also rolled out the latest version of Android to their smartphones.
Samsung isn’t the fastest when it comes to software updates, but the South Korean OEM, too, is determined to up the ante this time around. As a demonstration of intent, the company has begun beta testing Google’s latest offering a month earlier than last year. Android 10-based One UI 2 beta has gone live for the Galaxy S10 series and Note 10 duo, allowing users to see what Samsung has in store for them this year.
Update, November 28: Samsung has released the stable Android 10 update for the Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e now. However, as far as Android 10 goes, only a beta software is available for the Galaxy S9, Note 10 and Note 9.
Beta software is how companies know what they need to fix before releasing it widely to the public. Samsung has been quite dependable when it comes to public beta software, meaning the company rarely releases builds that are impossible to use on a daily basis. Samsung’s latest release, One UI 2 beta, fits under the description quite comfortably, as it, too, is more than capable of serving as your daily driver.
However, as clarified earlier, beta software is meant to hash out the imperfections and help the manufacturers make the stable build as perfect as possible. In this piece, we’ll take a look at all the bugs and glitches in One UI 2, and hopefully, help you find a few solutions along the way. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
This is a subjective issue, to be honest, but enough evidence has piled up to support S10 and Note 10’s deteriorating camera performance. Users have primarily complained about the selfie camera performance, claiming it’s nowhere near a $1000 flagship’s standard. Samsung, who takes pride in its industry-leading camera tech, has to come out with a solution before the official build starts rolling out.
Feel your One UI 2 device is refreshing apps far too often? You’re, fortunately or unfortunately, not alone. RAM management has taken a substantial hit since the release of Android 10 beta, forcing many apps to refresh even if they are minimized for a short span. This has primarily affected gamers, as they are losing game progress shortly after minimizing the games/apps.
Inconsistent Navigation Gestures
Google has introduced revamped touch-based navigation with Android 10. Samsung, staying true to the source material, has brought the gesture to its One UI 2 ROM, hoping to win over some purists. The gestures are easy to grasp, but they are a bit hit-and-miss. The Home and recent apps gestures, especially, are not the most dependable and can leave a user frustrated.
The most popular streaming service on the planet, Netflix, has become an essential app for most users. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to run the latest version of the app on your One UI 2 beta smartphone, a minor setback is in store. As the One UI 2 is still in beta, the ROM isn’t certified for Netflix. So, currently, there’s no way to run the latest version of the streaming application. You can, however, download an older version of the app or wait for Samsung to roll out the stable Android 10 build.
Users have reported unreliable internet connection since opting for the beta. Especially, while connected to a Wi-Fi network, many apps are having a hard time staying connected. Messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have been asking users to switch to mobile to continue enjoying their services, which, of course, isn’t ideal for people who don’t have an active data plan. Apart from Wi-Fi issues, random internet disconnections have also been reported by a number of users.
Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to this particular problem. Simply toggle on Airplane mode, keep it on for two minutes, and turn it back off again.
Samsung Notes Crash
The Samsung Notes app is arguably one of the most reliable applications on the Galaxy lineup, which is why many of us use it as our primary note-taking application. Sadly, in the process of fixing other more “important bugs,” Samsung has somehow messed up the Notes app. Following the sixth One UI 2 beta update, the app would randomly force close, which is, without a doubt, an annoying issue to encounter. To top it off, you can’t also back up the data to Samsung Cloud.
Google Discover glitch
This is probably one of the most annoying bugs we’ve ever encountered, as it really dampens the flow of browsing through Google’s powerful search engine. Most of us access Google through the search bar widget on our Home screen and get results (websites) as per our search query. One UI 2 beta does this part just fine but has a hard time opening up the webpages.
Upon tapping, the app takes either forever to open the page or won’t open the page at all. If you encounter the latter, try opening Google Chrome manually, and you should see the desired webpage waiting for you.
Another big annoying bug that has plagued users all over the globe is the inability to share anything over WhatsApp. Well, you can still send images/videos/songs through WhatsApp itself by tapping on the attachment icon and selecting the right options, but you can’t share anything from a different app, not even Samsung’s Gallery.
Sharing links has become practically impossible, as no app, so far, has figured out a way to bypass One UI 2’s interference and deliver the links straight to WhatsApp.
It’s best to keep our expectations in check when dealing with beta software, but it’s really difficult to overlook the abysmal battery life One UI 2 beta is offering. The first version of the beta, which went live for the Galaxy S10 devices in Korea, the US, and Germany in the third week of October couldn’t get the devices halfway through the day after a full top-up.
The second version, which is now live for Note 10 duo and S10 devices in all regions, has improved a little on that front, but it’s still not what we expect. Samsung must figure out a way to fix the battery algorithm before the official release and maybe even release a hotfix for beta testers.
As we all know, Dark Mode has been one of Android 10’s standout features, finally allowing users to dress up their screens and menus in black and reduce eye strain. Samsung introduced Dark Mode last year itself with the launch of One UI. They have extended the Dark Mode to the Home screen as well, diming the wallpaper in an attempt to bring down eye strain a couple more notches.
To be honest, we are quite impressed with Samsung’s implementation of Dark Mode, but it can feel a little confusing if you’re not careful. As per our findings, if a user was already using Dark Mode before updating to One UI 2 beta, there’s no way for them to revert back to normal. The toggle, which is meant to allow users to switch from light to dark, seems to be broken and doesn’t do anything when Dark Mode is turned off.
If you are facing the problem mentioned above, make sure you’re not using Medium Power Saving mode or lower. By switching to optimized or above, you should be able to restore the normal appearance of your phone.
Many users are having a hard time gaming on their Galaxy S10, claiming that the GPU throttles down considerably after 2/3 minutes of play. The issue seems to be affecting only the Exynos variants of the S10 devices, so Snapdragon users can rest easy. Synthetic benchmark scores are still up to the mark, which almost guarantees this issue to be an optimization glitch.
Let us know if you run into any other bugs than those listed above.
Apple is widely expected to release three new iPhone models this year, including a refreshed version of the current iPhone X, as well as a new 6-inch LCD model and a 6.4-inch OLED model.
While we’re still a few months away from Apple’s announcement, there’s quite a bit we already know about the so-called “iPhone X Plus.” Read on as we roundup the latest rumors about the 6.4-inch device…Design & Size
The iPhone X Plus, as you would expect, is likely to feature the same design as the current iPhone X, just in a larger form factor. This means you’ll have an edge-to-edge display with a notch cutout along the top to house the necessary Face ID components.
In terms of raw dimensions, supply chain schematics suggest the device will be 157.53mm by 77.44 mm by 7.85 mm thick. The easiest comparison for this device is the current iPhone 8 Plus, which measures in at 158.4mm x 78.1mm x 7.5mm thick.
As you can see, this means the iPhone X Plus will likely be slightly shorter and more narrow, but a bit thicker. A hands-on video offered direct comparisons between the two devices, showing how each devices feels in the hand and more.
Elsewhere, we should expect the iPhone X Plus to feature the same glass back and stainless steel bezels as the current iPhone X. A report also suggested that it may come in a new gold color option (as the iPhone X was intended to) and feature dual-SIM capabilities.
A crucial part of the size of the iPhone X Plus will be the display. The device is expected to pack at 6.4-inch OLED display with between 480 and 500 pixels-per-inch and a resolution of around 1242 x 2688. This compares to the current iPhone X at 458 PPI and the iPhone 8 Plus at 401 PPI.
The iPhone X Plus will feature an OLED display, much like the 2023 iPhone X. This display will bring darker blacks and improved overall color when compared to the iPhone 8 Plus.
While some earlier reports suggested that the iPhone X Plus would feature a 6.5-inch screen, more recent schematics have pegged the actual useable screen release to be 6.4-inches. Either way, the display on the iPhone X Plus will be notably bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus display, but come in a footprint that’s nearly the same size.
One important thing to note about the iPhone X Plus is that its display will almost certainly be more tall than the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X features a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, while the iPhone 8 Plus features a more common 16:9 aspect ratio. We should expect the iPhone X Plus to closely follow the precedent set by the iPhone X.
Apple partner TSMC recently began mass production of a 7-nanometer processor destined for this year’s iPhone lineup. This processor will likely be touted by Apple as the A12, following in the footsteps of the current A11 Bionic.
What’s notable about the A12 is that it is the first Apple processor to be based on the 7-nanometer design, making it more faster, smaller, and more efficient than past 10-nanometer chips.
Elsewhere, the iPhone X will likely pack 4GB of RAM, a step up from the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, both of which feature 3GB.
While there have been whispers of the 2023 iPhone models switching entirely to USB-C, a more recent report indicated that we’ll likely see Lightning connectivity live on for another year. However, that report also suggested that Apple will include a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box, as well as a USB-C wall adapter.
The iPhone X Plus is said to feature the same two-camera setup as the current iPhone X, which means we’ll get one wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens for features such as Portrait Mode. While some originally suggested this would be the year of a triple-lens iPhone, that doesn’t actually appear to be the case.
What’s still unclear, however, is what sort of technology the two-camera setup will feature. The iPhone X touts a 12MP camera, but at this point it’s unknown if the iPhone X Plus will make any improvements upon that.
One of the scariest things for many hopeful iPhone X Plus users has been the price. With the 2023 iPhone X starting at $999, many have feared that the iPhone X Plus will come in closer to the $1,500 mark.
Analysts, however, don’t seem to think that’s the case. One analyst suggested that, due to the lack of a true “super cycle” last year, Apple will drop the price of the 5.8-inch model to $899 and start the iPhone X Plus at $999.
What’s important to note here, however, is that pricing for Apple products can be very challenging to predict ahead of time. While hardware updates and configurations can usually be tracked through the supply chain, the same can’t be said for pricing.
According to one report, however, Apple expects the iPhone X Plus to be the most popular model it introduces this year, even beating out the more affordable 6-inch LCD model.
As has become normal over the last few years, Apple is widely expected to announce the iPhone X Plus (and the rest of its new iPhones) at an event in September. A release should then follow within a couple of weeks.
iPhone X Plus renders via iDrop News and Martin Hajek
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Apple is poised to release iOS & iPadOS 16 this Fall, with iOS 16 likely dropping a few weeks ahead of iPadOS 16. These updates will introduce a lot of intriguing new features to Apple’s mobile device lineup, but if you’re jailbroken on iOS or iPadOS 14, then you may not need to wait to use them.
In today’s roundup, iDB will be showcasing what we believe are some of the best jailbreak tweaks for porting iOS & iPadOS 16 features to jailbroken iOS & iPadOS 14 devices. Some of these have been expressly made to mimic iOS & iPadOS 16, while others existed long before the software update’s initial announcement earlier this Summer.
So without any further ado, let’s jump right into the fun and show you how you can get more of an iOS & iPadOS 16-like experience on your jailbroken iOS & iPadOS 14 device:The best jailbreak tweaks to port iOS 16 features to pwned iOS 14 devices Helix – FREE
Once installed, users will find their Lock Screen to be almost as customizable as a true iOS 16 device, despite being jailbroken and using an older firmware version.
Those interested in learning more about Helix should read more about it and where it can be obtained from in our full review post.PLBattery – FREE
Everyone knows by now that iOS 16 finally gives notched iPhone users the ability to display their numeric battery percentage in the Status Bar, something that non-notched handsets have enjoyed since the iPhone X first debuted.
If you have no plans of upgrading to iOS 16 this Fall because jailbreaking is more important to you, then we definitely understand, and the PLBattery jailbreak tweak can provide a similar experience on pwned iOS 14 devices.
You can find out more about PLBattery and how it works in our full review post.HiddenLock14 – FREE
A feature that should have been present in all versions of iOS since the dawn of the Hidden album in the Photos app is the ability to secure it with authentication. Fortunately, Apple is bringing us this security measure with iOS 16.
HiddenLock14 is a free jailbreak tweak that brings the same feature to pwned iOS 14 devices, compelling jailbreakers to authenticate themselves before entering the Hidden album. The benefit, of course, is that not just anybody can go into your hidden Photos.
You can find out more about HiddenLock14 and how it works in our full review post.Echo – FREE
Echo is a jailbreak tweak that brings an iOS 16-inspired Now Playing widget interface to jailbroken iOS 14 devices.
You can find out more about Echo and how it works in our full review post.Live Activities – $2.99
Live Activities is a jailbreak tweak that brings the spirit of iOS 16’s informative activity-based widgets to the Lock Screen, allowing you to see live information from your favorite sources.
While the APIs for many of iOS 16’s live activity interfaces aren’t present for iOS 14 users, this tweak does offer interfaces for things such as alarms, timers, music, calendars, reminders, and stopwatches l, among other things.
You can learn all about Love Activities and what you can do with it in our full review post.NetworkList – FREE
With the iOS 16 software update, users can finally view previously-entered Wi-Fi passwords from the comfort of their own device. But this is something you can also do if you’re jailbroken.
With the NetworkList jailbreak tweak, you can look back at previously-connected Wi-Fi networks and see what passwords were used to log into them. This will make it easier to log other devices in when you forget (or didn’t know) what was entered before.
You can learn more about NetworkList and how it works in our full review post.TappyKeyboard – FREE
Haptic feedback is finally an option starting with iOS 16, which means you’ll feel a small vibration when tapping on keyboard keys.
The TappyKeyboard jailbreak tweak brings the same haptic feedback to pwned iOS 14 devices, making it possible to feel the same vibrations without updating your firmware and losing your valuable jailbreak.
You can learn more about TappyKeyboard and how it works in our full review post.Exiwall – $2.49
Another excellent new feature of the iOS 16 Lock Screen is how it adds depth to the wallpaper by bringing the subject of the photo up and above the Lock Screen’s date and time display.
This same effect can be achieved on jailbroken handsets with the Exiwall jailbreak tweak, which supports even hardware that Apple wouldn’t support on iOS 16.
You can find out more about Exiwall and what you can do with it in our full review post.DockSearch – FREE
You’re going to be able to do more with your Home Screen Dock starting with iOS 16 — namely, you can initiate device searches to find files or data that you might be looking for.
With DockSearch, you can have a similar user experience on the Home Screen of your jailbroken iOS 14 device, which gives you a little more synchronicity with the latest software update.
You can learn everything you need to know about DockSearch, including where you can get it from, in our full review post.Conclusion
That just about wraps up today’s list, but as we continue to review new jailbreak tweak releases, we’re sure this list will only continue to expand with more options in the future.
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Many of us have been frustrated when dealing with the legalities of security. Most of the time, after pursuing an issue down to the cause, we find that we have no way to levy consequences against the offending party. It feels even worse when companies who were less than careful while handling and storing your personal data have personally victimized you.
So what’s happening to stop this? Have lawmakers and politicians been stung enough to at least attempt to mitigate the issues we face personally and professionally?
Well the Feds have decided to take a swing at the issue by proposing several bills and the States have followed suit too.
H.R. 1685 “Data Security Act of 2007” would require the federal government and businesses to notify individuals if their sensitive personal or financial information is compromised through a data security breach.
H.R. 836 “Cyber-Security Enhancement and Consumer Data Protection Act of 2007” would require notification of federal law enforcement officials of certain data breaches and provide criminal and civil penalties for knowingly concealing such breaches.
H.R. 958 “Data Accountability and Trust Act” would require companies to implement data security programs and notify individuals affected by a data security breach. It would require businesses to notify individuals if their personal information is compromised in a data breach incident. Additionally, businesses would be required to notify the FTC of the breach.
States have also jumped into the security legislation game with both feet and scored what all of us remember as landmark legislation in California with SB 1386. For those who need a refresher, this law requires all companies in California or that do business in California to disclose any security breaches to each affected Californian customer whose personal information has been compromised. Failure to comply may result in lawsuits and damages.
Once California introduced this law, roughly 36 other states followed with their own state breach notice laws.
And while the Senate has been slow to act on other security concerns such as spyware, we see that 15 states already have laws on the books with 8 states having proposals out this year. There are two federal bills floating now that have passed the House.
H.R. 1525 “I-SPY Act” would impose prison sentences on up to five years and/or fines for intentionally using spyware in furtherance of another federal crime and calls for sentences of not more than two years for intentionally accessing without authorization, or hacking into, a computer.
H.R. 964 “Spy Act” would prohibit the collection of personal information from a computer without notice to and consent from the consumer.
So we can see that our friends in Washington have been busy little bees with the FTC being the main enforcement arm of all these little gems. But with new laws come new issues.
Being that security litigation is still relatively new, you can bet that while legislation is laced with good intentions, we’re going to see quite a bit of a learning curve when it comes to lawyers, judges, rules of civil procedure and all of the many processes used to produce electronic evidence.
What does all of this mean to you?
While it’s nice to see that the wheels of justice are finally starting to spin, they have miles and miles of catching up to do. In addition, the laws on the books here in the United States certainly don’t begin to cover the deluge of international security issues that are now commonplace in all areas of business and government.
One thing is for sure. The bad guys are not going to get any less clever.
All of us are going to have to realize that even with new legislation on the books, we’re going to have to make serious adjustments in our practices and attitudes toward data security. No longer can we focus on our little piece of the pie and dwell on the frustrations within.
We need to understand that the issue of data security is no longer just a technology problem but also a criminal, legal and most of all, a business problem.
This article was first published on EnterpriseITPlanet.
Here’s What We Should Do About ISIL Tough choices, but they don’t include war
Photo by AP Photo/Thibault Camus
The French strikes on Islamic State positions following the November 13, 2023, Paris attacks point up the peculiar dual nature of this protean Salafi jihadist organization, whose ruthlessness, ability to capture and hold territory, significant financial resources, and strategic acumen make it a threat unlike any other the West has faced in the contemporary era.
The problem is, as the Paris killings and the French counterattack indicate, the Islamic State is partly a totalitarian state and partly a transnational terrorist organization. As a state it can be attacked and defeated, at least temporarily. And yet the more we in the West attack the state, the more its appeal as a terrorist organization will grow among those who see the West as an enemy.
The ISIL proto-state represents a marriage of Salafi jihadists and highly trained Baathist military and intelligence personnel, the very same Baathist personnel that the United States fired from their posts in 2003. The proto-state capitalizes on Sunni Arab disenfranchisement in Syria and Iraq, and thrives in the chaos caused by civil war in Syria. The state earns revenues not only by selling oil, but also by “taxing” people who are trapped in the territory it controls. It also taxes the export of antiquities, and most important, refugee flows. Although ISIL has denounced the refugees leaving Iraq and Syria as traitors, it is also making money from their duress.
At the same time, ISIL is also a millenarian cult with global terrorist ambitions. A number of existing terrorist organizations have pledged allegiance and become “wilayat,” or provinces, among them the Sinai Province in Egypt; Barqa, Tripoli, and Fezzan Provinces in Libya; Khorasan Province in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Boko Haram’s West Africa Province in Nigeria. We can expect provinces to continue to spread into lawless or poorly governed areas. Volunteers are coming to the Islamic State by the tens of thousands, enticed by the chance to live in the only “place on the face of the Earth where the Shari’ah of Allah is implemented and the rule is entirely for Allah,” in the words of the Islamic State’s online magazine, as well as the promise of sex, violence, and money. Many of them will end up serving as cannon fodder. While many experts focus on ISIL’s narrative of victory, I see a narrative of overcoming humiliation and a chance to recover lost dignity. This narrative is meant to appeal to all the world’s oppressed.
A principal source of the threat to the West is that ISIL and its Salafi jihadi ideology have metastasized into the banlieues of Europe. It appeals, in ISIL’s words, to the people “drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people.” To those oppressed, ISIL promises the chance “to remove the garments of dishonor, and shake off the dust of humiliation and disgrace, for the era of lamenting and moaning has gone and the dawn of honor has emerged anew. The sun of jihad has risen.”
With the Paris attacks, ISIL has taken this challenge to a whole new level. Until now, we have mostly seen relatively unsophisticated self-starters, inspired by ISIL’s ideology, but not directed by its leadership. But it was only a matter of time before ISIL would be able to coordinate attacks outside its territory. To do so requires not only trained labor and weaponry, but most important, intelligence and counterintelligence, the latter greatly enhanced by a Snowden-inspired antisurveillance mood. We are likely to see ISIL-trained operatives working together with local personnel who know the targeted city or facility.
Over time, we will likely see more use of insiders, as we may have seen in the explosion of the Russian airliner over Egypt on October 31.
Carrying out such attacks invites a devastating counterattack on the Islamic State. These attacks do not further the interests of the totalitarian state. But again, they do further the interests of the millenarian cult, the goal of which is to goad the West into a final battle in Syria.
With enough will, and enough ground forces, we can defeat the Islamic State on the territory it controls. It would require a massive infusion of military might, but the West certainly has the means. Many of the millions of people living under ISIL’s totalitarian rule do not wish to be there, and we’d have to be willing to live with their blood on our hands. Still, many would argue that the stakes are so high that the “merciless” war that French President François Hollande has called for is the right approach.
For example, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen has argued quite persuasively that the attacks in Paris prove that the only objective commensurate with the threat is the elimination of ISIL’s stronghold in Syria and Iraq. “A certain quality of evil cannot be allowed physical terrain on which to breed,” he says, and he is right. Unlike previous totalitarian regimes, the Islamic State flaunts its evil with grisly images calculated to terrorize. It seduces vulnerable youth with a wide array of promises, catering to eclectic fantasies and needs—the opportunity to recover lost honor, to help those in need, to rape and kill with impunity, to purify the world and reinvent themselves. Crushing the Islamic State would surely serve the interests of justice.
A downside to this approach is that it would be a temporary fix. Defeating ISIL in Syria would require ending the civil war there; a tall order indeed. The 2007 “surge” in Iraq resulted in a temporary rout of the predecessor organization to ISIL. A number of generals warned before the surge that we would need to occupy Iraq for three decades to create a viable state. Even if we were prepared to occupy Iraq and Syria for the next 30 years, there is no guarantee of success. And if there is anything we ought to have learned from our mistakes in both Iraq and Libya, it is that a failed state riven by sectarian tensions may well be the worst of all possible outcomes.
Moreover, it is not enough to defeat the Islamic State in its stronghold in Syria and Iraq. Its provinces must be defeated, its ideology crushed, and its seductive appeal undermined. Western recruits are the principal threat to the West, at least for now. A massive attack, which would inevitably involve civilian casualties, could well increase their number.
What options are left to us? The unsatisfying answer is that we need to continue what we’re doing, but do a lot more of it and do it better. That includes working with our allies to cut off the flows of foreign fighters and funding, continuing airstrikes, and deploying special forces against high-value targets. Our Arab allies, who are far more threatened by the Islamic State, need to step up to the plate militarily. We need to rethink our opposition to surveillance, a critically important counterterrorism tool. We also need to get a lot better at undermining ISIS’s claim that it is offering a “five-star jihad,” and that the West is at war with Islam. Many former members have come back horrified by the brutality and corruption that they witnessed. We need to find a way for them to tell their stories to vulnerable youth.
The bottom line is this: terrorism is psychological warfare. It has been used by the weak against the strong for millennia. Among its multiple objectives is to make its victims overreact. We want to wage war to banish the feeling of being unjustly attacked or unable to protect the blameless. We want to wage war on evil. But sometimes the effect of our reaction is precisely that which we aimed to thwart—more terrorists and more attacks, spread more broadly around the world. This is the paradox of counterterrorism—the military strategies required to defeat the threat today often bring more terrorism tomorrow.
A version of this piece was published in Politico on November 17, 2023.
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