The Islamic State on Defense

(Combating Terrorism Center-West Point) Michael Knights and Alexandre Mello - The Islamic State has been on the defensive in Iraq for more than eight months and it has lost practically every battle it has fought. After peaking in August 2014, its area of control has shrunk, slowly but steadily. There is nothing mystical about the Islamic State as a defensive force: it has succeeded almost entirely due to the absence of effective opposition, not because of its inherent strength. At the tactical level it is highly dangerous and can still win engagements, but at the operational level it lacks strategic coherence and displays a chronic inability to defend terrain. The core Islamic State is still a very small military movement in Iraq. It is far too small to perpetually defend the territories it currently dominates. It boasts many skilled and charismatic small unit leaders, but it is not a professional military institution by any measure. Dr. Michael Knights is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Alexandre Mello is the lead Iraq security analyst at Horizon Client Access.

2015-05-05 00:00:00

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