Despite the rhetoric, the campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) is not over. The international coalition is sounding almost triumphalist, giving developments a sunny gloss and frequently repeating claim that it is ‘defeating Daesh’.
This is true in a way, and success in one aspect – the protracted war which has pushed IS out of many cities and towns in Syria and Iraq – cannot be denied. Continue reading →
Everything is in a state of motion. Nothing is fixed, and amid this confusion and volatility, much can still happen. Such ambiguity benefits foreign forces, many of whom feel it is in their power to change the shape of the war, or at least to pursue their narrow national interests within Syria. Continue reading →
The apparent advent of ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – took many by surprise. When it seized control of Fallujah in January 2014, it was categorised as an Al-Qaeda affiliate – not a separate entity – and while there were suggestions at that time of its ‘soaring capabilities’, very few can have predicted its tremendous rate of expansion, which added Mosul to ISIS’ burgeoning territory in June of that year.
One year on and it seems that the death cult is everywhere. In a calculated bid to increase its profile internationally, ISIS has opened (or co-opted) terror franchises in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria and further afield; atrocities carried out in its name have scarred the streets of Paris, terrorised tourists at the popular Tunisian resort of Sousse and attacked multiple Shia targets within Saudi Arabia. Continue reading →