The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the course of an American operation can only harm the Islamic State. Not only did Baghdadi claim religious authority, which failed to protect him from the Americans; he was also, far more than al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, a field commander, issuing orders to subordinates on the ground on which they fought, and directing his organisation in war. Continue reading
The Islamic State (IS) has been militarily defeated in its attempt to create a ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria. Its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria were wrested from the terror group after long, grinding campaigns fought by local forces with extensive international assistance.
After the rapid capture of Tal Afar and a pocket around Hawija from IS last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the war against IS was over, that it had been won. Continue reading
The capture of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexander Kotey, two British men attempting to flee Syria for Turkey, was a brief moment for celebration. The men had formed part of a brutal Islamic State (ISIS) cell, dubbed ’the Beatles’, which had executed foreign hostages on camera and become the global face of the terror group. Continue reading