ISIS Losing Ground, But Not Finished
While ISIS’s capitals of their self-declared caliphate, Mosul and Raqqa, are disappearing, ISIS can still maintain global reach and longevity. Between their “local insurgency and digitally connected global jihadis,” ISIS can relocate and maneuver to safer locations where they can rebuild their forces and regain territory. Experts look at areas with regional conflicts that would allow ISIS to recruit militants with greater ease and take over weak conflict areas. There are still areas in Iraq that can hide ISIS militants as they try to address their leadership issues and rebuild. In essence, ISIS will not disappear because of Mosul’s liberation. This will be a problem that requires united efforts and not continued religious, ethnic, and political infighting.
07/12/2017 Iraq (Spokesman) – The Islamic State group’s mix of a local insurgency and digitally connected global jihadis gives the group staying power and the means to relaunch its future, from small cells of extremists escaping the war zone in Iraq and Syria to those who never went there in the first place.
The impending loss of Mosul and Raqqa cuts out the urban heart of its self-proclaimed caliphate, but the extremist organization has built-in plans to endure and has shown a degree of flexibility that will be difficult to counteract.
For more than a year, Islamic State has acknowledged the possibility of losing the territory that propelled it to the forefront of the global jihadi movement – and drew thousands of foreign fighters. Islamic State’s goal since then has been to maintain its local and global support base in the face of overwhelming defeat. Whether it succeeds depends on what happens well after today’s battles are over.