After major losses in Syria and Iraq, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) is seen as a diminishing threat — and President Donald Trump has declared the armed group defeated. But while it’s true that the group has lost a lot of territory in the Levant and has seen its “caliphate” crumble as they get pushed out of cities in and villages after often months-long bloody battles, is it really down for the count?
Its defeat in Raqqa — a city in northern Syria declared the capital of the ISIS “caliphate” — represented what Mona Yacoubian, Senior Policy Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, called “a significant, strategic and symbolic loss” for ISIS. But it by no means spells the end of the group. Yacoubian cautioned against mistaking short-term military victories for long-term success, and worries that the United States, as it has in the past (under the Obama administration in Iraq, for instance), will pull back rather than stay and try to figure out a non-military way to “sustain change on the ground.”
Read the full article here.