2016 Archives

National security, international policy expert:

Brussels attacks may be tied to waning ISIS momentum

March 22, 2016

Joshua Rovner
Joshua Rovner

DALLAS (SMU) – Joshua Rovner, international policy and national security expert at Southern Methodist University, says that if ISIS is to blame for the Brussels attacks, as it has claimed, the action may be an attempt to reclaim lost ground.

“ISIS has already claimed responsibility for this morning’s attacks," Rovner said. “The group is losing momentum in Iraq and Syria, and it may be lashing out abroad. Other declining terrorist groups have acted similarly in the past.”

Brussels bombings - courtesy of The Associated Press
Associated Press Photo

“Intelligence services have been warning about attacks in Belgium for many months and have stepped up security,” Rovner continued. “But in open societies there is always a chance that some terrorists will get through. Stopping every violent act is impossible, and even successful counterterrorist campaigns will suffer setbacks. A deliberate and concerted approach to eroding ISIS will pay dividends, but policymakers must have the patience to see it through. Overreacting to atrocities like the attacks in Belgium will play into the hands of extremists.” 

Rovner is the John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair of International Politics and National Security, associate professor of Political Science, and director of Studies at SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies.

As reviews editor for The Journal of Strategic Studies, he has deliberately brought together scholars from different disciplines in order to encourage work that is both theoretically rigorous and historically rich.  

Before coming to SMU, Rovner was Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy at the Naval War College.