Why ISIS Is Bullet-Proof

(Cipher Brief) Michael W.S. Ryan - By all measures, ISIS is weaker now than before the U.S. ramped up its military and intelligence campaign against the group. But ISIS, like al-Qaeda, still operates within the strategic wrapper of classic guerrilla warfare. Losing territory translates into moving down the strategic ladder to terrorism and perhaps light guerrilla warfare. We must consider ISIS, or perhaps its replacement, as a permanent terrorist threat in Syria and Iraq, unless sectarian divisions can be healed and its apocalyptic brand of jihadi Salafist ideology is thoroughly discredited. If ISIS is severely degraded, a likely scenario would be the migration of ISIS fighters and operatives to al-Qaeda or some new group. ISIS and a variety of jihadi-Salafist groups already operate in Europe. They do not need returning foreign fighters to mount attacks. However, we are seeing that the most devastating attacks tend to be directed and even supported by al-Qaeda and ISIS outside European territory. The writer, who served in senior positions in the State Department and the Pentagon, is a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation.

2017-05-19 00:00:00

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