What Happens When ISIS Loses its ‘Caliphate’?

Leo Timm
By Leo Timm
December 1, 2016News
What Happens When ISIS Loses its ‘Caliphate’?

Iraqi forces, with U.S. assistance, are currently fighting the ISIS terrorist group for control of Mosul. And in Syria, various forces, including Syrian government troops with the aid of Russia, are preparing to push ISIS out of Raqqa.

When the smoke clears, ISIS will have likely lost its two main bases, and with them, the foundation of its identity: the so-called Islamic “caliphate.” The questions hanging over the terrorist organization now are how it will fund itself without its strongholds, where it will go next, and what it will become.

Its extreme violence has already alienated the group from other terrorist groups, and even drug cartels will be reluctant to work with it, say experts. Without territory—and without the money and support it brings—ISIS faces extinction, though it’s not expected to disappear entirely.

ISIS built its identity—and prophetic credibility—around the fact that it held territory. Hence, the name “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” and later just the “Islamic State.”

“Their draw was the fact they had territory that was defined and where people could come and join—to see what it’s like living in an Islamic state,” said Paul Rexton Kan, professor of national security at the U.S. Army War College.

After ISIS loses its territory, Kan said, its name will become more of a joke—a painful reminder of what it lost.

Potential New Territories

There is speculation ISIS could shift operations to Libya, where it still holds some power, or to Yemen, where it has pockets of support. But neither are within the Levant, nor have the same historical significance.

Kan said there’s a chance that ISIS could shift to areas like Jordan or Lebanon where it can try to radicalize refugees. There are also terrorist and militia groups that have sworn allegiance to ISIS as far away as the Philippines.

Read the full article by Joshua Philipp at Epoch Times 

Featured image:  A soldier of the Iraqi special forces carries a rocket propelled grenade as he prepares for a suicide bomb vehicle that was reported to be moving toward their position in Mosul, Iraq, on Nov. 14. Credit: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

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