Will the Islamic State survive 2016?

Author Metin Gurcan
Following spectacular combat gains for two years, the Islamic State (IS) is on the defensive in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, IS lost 14% of the territory it once controlled. It has lost another 8% in just the first three months of this year, according to a new study from IHS Jane's 360.

ISIL and the poor man's nuke

Luke Coffey

Last November a small amount of iridium-192, a radioactive isotope, went missing from a facility in Zubair, a town in southern Iraq. After a lot of unsubstantiated - and in some cases wild - speculation by the media that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had stolen the material and was going to use it for a dirty bomb, the radioactive material turned up intact not far from where it went missing.

End Times for the Caliphate?

Territory held in northern Syria and Iraq

Patrick Cockburn
The war in Syria and Iraq has produced two new de facto states in the last five years and enabled a third quasi-state greatly to expand its territory and power. The two new states, though unrecognised internationally, are stronger militarily and politically than most members of the UN. One is the Islamic State, which established its caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq in the summer of 2014 after capturing Mosul and defeating the Iraqi army.

ISIS: The Latest Phase of the Jihad

by Raymond Ibrahim, Strategika

ISIS propaganda trumpets Muslim strength, not grievances.
The best way to understand the Islamic State (ISIS) is to see it as the next phase of al-Qaeda. All Sunni Islamic jihadi groups—Boko Haram, ISIS, Taliban, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, even Hamas—share the same motivations based on a literal and orthodox reading of Islamic history and doctrine: resurrecting a caliphate (which existed in various forms from 632 to 1924) that implements and spreads the totality of sharia, or Islamic law.

Hasan al-Banna and the Political Ideologisation of Islam in the 20th Century

The political ideologisation of Islam refers to the interpretation of Islam as a ‘political ideology’: a comprehensive ‘system of ideas for social and political action’ (Safire, 2008: 336) which serve as a functional tool for the ordering of state and society, whilst also outlining how this ideal socio-political order might be attained (Erikson and Tedin, 2003: 64).

Water as Weapon: IS on the Euphrates and Tigris

By Tobias von Lossow for SWP

According to Tobias von Losso, the so-called Islamic State (IS) has been exploiting its control of water resources to further its political and military aims, both in Syria and Iraq. The tactic does raise a conundrum, however. Yes, IS wants to inflict pain on its enemies, but it also needs to maintain needed services in the areas it controls.

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