Friday, March 25, 2016

ISIS is on the defensive

I know these high-profile terrorist attacks make all the news (and justifiably so!). But less justifiably, people seem to jump to the conclusion that launching successful terrorist attacks in the West means that ISIS is doing well. Actually, it's the opposite. ISIS has increased its terrorism abroad as its situation as a viable Islamic State that can maintain control over territory gets more tenuous.

Remember, the Islamic State calls itself a state because having an actual country is the focus of its project. If its self-proclaimed caliphate cannot hold what it claims to control, then the project is a failure. The real barometer of the group's success is not Brussels right now, it's Palmyra and Mosul. ISIS has already lost Ramadi and Sinjar (with the loss of Sinjar partially cutting of ISIS's territory in Iraq from its territory in Syria). The area that ISIS has been able to control has been consistently shrinking since it reached its high water mark one year ago.