As the Islamic State Disperses, the United States Must Adapt

Iraqi special forces arrest a fighter with Islamic State militia, Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 25. 2017 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).
Iraqi special forces arrest a fighter with Islamic State militia, Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 25. 2017 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

As most security experts expected, driving the self-styled Islamic State out of its “caliphate” in northern Iraq and eastern Syria has been tough, bloody work. Nevertheless, the Iraqi military and local militias, backed by U.S. airpower, special operations forces and military advisers, are making progress. Eventually the international coalition will, as Hal Brands and Peter Feaver write in Foreign Affairs, militarily defeat the Islamic State “by destroying its core in Syria.” Unfortunately, though, this will not kill the group—its ideology cannot be destroyed on the battlefield—but simply drive it to other locations. As FBI Director James Comey said, “At some […]

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