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Iraqi security forces arrest a suspected fighter with the Islamic State, Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Why Defeating the Islamic State Won’t Be All Good News for the U.S.

Steven Metz Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

The battlefield defeat of the self-styled Islamic State in eastern Syria and western Iraq is far from certain but increasingly likely. Iraqi government forces, in conjunction with Shiite and Kurdish militias, are slowly liberating Mosul, the largest city the Islamic State has conquered. While the Syrian government is less concerned with the group than with other rebel forces it faces, a Kurdish-Arab militia alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces is pushing toward Raqqa, the Islamic State’s most important stronghold after Mosul.

In parallel, a global coalition led by the United States is undercutting the group’s economic base. The extremists still control significant funds, but their profits and revenues have dropped dramatically. This has not stopped the Islamic State from coordinating terrorist attacks but is eroding its conventional military power. ...

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