Seth Jones, Foreign Policy: Can the Islamic State Lose Mosul and Still Win?
There’s a well-established playbook for pivoting to guerilla warfare.
Mosul was the first major Iraqi city conquered by the Islamic State during its blitzkrieg in the summer of 2014, and its loss would be a serious blow for a group that claims it will create a pan-Islamic caliphate based in the Middle East. But past insurgencies suggest it is far too early to count the Islamic State out. There’s still plenty of time for it to follow in the footsteps of other successful insurgent groups.
This year certainly hasn’t been kind to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s organization. The Islamic State has lost roughly 50 percent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq, according to U.S. government estimates. In neighboring Syria, the Islamic State has lost roughly a quarter of the territory it once controlled and has been pushed out of key areas along the Syrian-Turkish border, such as Manbij and Jarabulus. The group still retains some territory in Iraq and Syria, particularly along the Euphrates River. But its land is shrinking, its finances are in perilous shape, and its pool of foreign fighters is dwindling and suffering from low morale.
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Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 31, 2016
Unless Baghdad fills the political vacuum in Mosul, Isis will revive -- Hassan Hassan, The Guardian
What ISIL really wants from the battle for Mosul -- Hassan Hassan, The National
How Syria Catapulted Russia from Mideast Pawn to Power Broker -- John Herbst, RCW
In Syria, the U.S. may need more troops to manage shaky alliance -- Andrew Tilghman, Military Times
Why the Maldives Is Sending Terrorists to Syria and Iraq -- Joseph Hammond, National Interest
What is Pakistan's militancy issue all about? -- Shamil Shams & Hans Spross, DW
Will South Korea's president be forced out of office? -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera
Who will lead NK in from cold? -- Stephen Costello, Korea Times
U.S.-Russia relations in Central Asia: Change within -- Marlene Laruelle, Washington Times
U.S.-Philippine Alliance Is Stronger Than You Think -- Greg Poling, War on the Rocks
America's Latest South China Sea FONOP Did More Harm Than Good -- James Holmes, National Interest
Taking the Rohingya Insurgency at Face Value -- Richard Potter, The Diplomat
China is struggling to keep control over its version of the past -- The Economist
What’s next for Russian foreign policy? -- Mikhail Troitskiy, European Leadership Network
Prone to Earthquakes and Volcano Eruptions, Should Italy Prepare for ‘The Big One’? -- Barbie Latza Nadeau, Daily Beast
Trudeau and the millennials: The love-in won’t last -- Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail