On Security

The Erasure of the Islamic State's Caliphate Won't Ensure Its Defeat

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Mar 5, 2019 | 10:15 GMT
Iraqis demand investigations March 1, 2019, in Baghdad into the discovery of a mass grave near the Islamic State's last bastion in eastern Syria.

Iraqis demand investigations March 1, 2019, in Baghdad into the discovery of a mass grave near the Islamic State's last bastion in eastern Syria. The Islamic State core could re-emerge as a serious threat.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces launched an operation March 1 backed by U.S. artillery and air support in an effort to defeat the remnant core fighters of the Islamic State in the last sliver of the militant group's self-declared "caliphate," the term it used to describe the territory in Syria and Iraq it conquered and governed under its austere interpretation of Sharia. With the destruction of the so-called caliphate imminent, many have begun to wonder if the jihadist group could ever recover. But this is the wrong question. Instead of asking whether the Islamic State core can recover, the proper question is whether the Islamic State core will be permitted to recover again. The difference between these two questions is subtle, but vitally important....

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