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What Is (Who Are) the Islamic State (14 of 16)

December 10, 2015

On 6/30/15 HuffPost published “Where Does ISIS Stand A Year After It Declared Its Caliphate?” in which Nick Robin-Early interviews Charles Lister, the author of the Brookings Analysis Paper (see page 13 A/B).

Some main points:  IS had doubled its fighting force to perhaps 50-60,000.  Outside of Syria/Iraq it had expanded to include the allegiance of forces controlling local territory in 11 countries.  Such expansion is important to ISIS’s propaganda and recruitment, but also to its view of itself as a growing, “global Islamist movement.”  Indeed the holding of territory, as a caliphate, is very important; and although its gains in Iraq have received a lot of attention, its territory in Syria, including its capital at Raqqa, is very important.  If IS begins to seriously lose territory, its ability to govern as a state, its reason for being, will be questioned; and at that point it will be interesting to see how it develops its strategy.  Currently it maintains control of populations by a mix of religious credibility, protection of the Sunni population, fear (as in terrorism), and effective provision of goods and services, paid for mainly by revenues from taxation and extortion.

Updates:  3 ISIS financial leaders killed.

8-30-16  Propaganda minister and terrorism planner/coordinator killed.  11-28-16: More about this.

10-16-16:  Dabiq captured by anti-ISIS rebels.

12-5-16:  New Yorker article on evolving ISIS strategy.

2-25-17:  New National Security Advisor to the President takes position that the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is inaccurate and harmful because these terrorists are “unIslamic.”

{Page 1 of this episode, page 15}

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