The Atlantic

The Myth of ISIS's Strategic Brilliance

The group has adapted to battlefield setbacks. But that doesn't mean it factored territorial losses into its master plan.
Source: Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

As Mosul is finally freed in its entirety from the Islamic State (ISIS) and the offensive in Raqqa continues, the predictable question becomes: What’s next for the group? Without control of territory, its complex state administration project cannot function. This project was probably ISIS’s  biggest selling point in relation to its rivals in the global jihadist movement.

The end of ISIS as a functioning state project on the ground clearly does not herald the end of ISIS as an entity. In many areas long since cleared of ISIS control, the organization has continued to function as an effective insurgency with both small and large-scale attacks. Around the world, ISIS will remain a terrorist threat, as illustrated by events from Europe to the Philippines. The ISIS footprint on the internet is large and unlikely ever to be removed in its entirety. The group’s , whether out of disillusionment

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