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VOL. IX, Issue 4

A Long Way from Success: Assessing the War on the Islamic State

Since the U.S.-led coalition initiated military action against the Islamic State (IS) in northern Iraq in August 2014 and in Syria the following month, a number of victories have been achieved. However, progress thus far can best be described as a series of loosely linked tactical gains, rather than a significant strategic advance. The stated coalition objective is to “degrade and destroy” IS as a militant organization, but it remains a potent armed force capable of capturing valuable territory and inflicting considerable material damage on its adversaries. The time has now come for a bold and critical re-evaluation of the current anti-IS strategy and the core analytical understandings driving counter-actions. In addition to honestly assessing progress thus far in countering IS, this article highlights three key issues requiring acknowledgment and recommends their inclusion within the foundational thinking of a new and more effective counter-IS strategy

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…