Mar. 8, 2019
- The Fall of the Caliphate – Jonathan Spyer
The Islamic State proclaimed in Mosul on June 29, 2014, is about to cease to exist. The demise of the caliphate does not mean the end of the organization that established it. We are likely to be hearing again from the nucleus of Iraqi Sunni jihadists who launched this enterprise. ISIS still has 30,000 fighters available to it and does not lack for funds.
Moreover, for all its terrible cruelties, Islamic State was only a manifestation of a larger crisis still under way across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This crisis is ultimately one of state fragmentation, and sectarian war of succession. Both Iraq and Syria are fractious and divided.
The Assad regime rules over only 60% of Syria, while Iran and Russia have the final say on key issues. The Turks and their Sunni Islamist allies control 10%. The Kurds and their Western backers control an additional 30%. In each of these areas, a slow-burning insurgency is growing, supported by one of the other players. The writer is director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. (Jerusalem Post)