The Future of the Islamic State and Its Caliphate

June 8, 2016 The Islamic State is under pressure in Iraq and Syria, but its opponents also face great challenges.

Summary

The Islamic State is a unique jihadist entity. Unlike all prior jihadist movements, IS has achieved the status of a state actor – it controls, governs and defends territory. Unlike the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan for five years prior to the 9/11 attacks, IS established a transnational caliphate by disregarding the borders between Syria and Iraq. Taking advantage of the failing Iraqi and Syrian states, IS seized large tracts of territory on both sides of the border and set up a viable economy.

IS has not been able to expand th...

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