The Islamic State group’s mix of a local insurgency and digitally-connected global jihadis has given it staying power and the means to relaunch its future, from small cells of extremists escaping the war zone in Iraq and Syria to those who never went there in the first place.
The loss of Mosul in Iraq and the offensive to push IS out of Raqqa in Syria cuts out the urban heart of the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate, but the extremist organization has built-in plans to endure and has shown a degree of flexibility that will be difficult to counteract.
IS’ goal now appears to be to maintain its local and global support base in the face of overwhelming defeat.
Whether it succeeds depends on what happens well after today’s battles are over.
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