Last month, President Trump claimed the defeat of the Islamic State as justification for his decision to withdraw American troops from Syria. In 2014, at the height of its reign, the Sunni insurgent group governed an estimated 10 million people and 34,000 square miles of territory.
The Islamic State no longer controls significant territory in Iraq and Syria. But during a visit to Baghdad in December, the question being asked by Iraqi government officials was not if the Islamic State is making a comeback, but how soon the group will again be strong enough to recapture and hold territory.
How the Iraqi government is fueling anger
In Iraq, the government’s harsh counterterrorism strategy, which is widely perceived as collectively punishing the Sunnis, is generating new grievances that could increase local support for an Islamic State 2.0.… Seguir leyendo »
The Islamic State’s recruitment of children has been extensively and graphically documented. The militant group has used children as young as 7 as combatants, messengers, drivers and guards. Islamic State propaganda videos depict juvenile executioners from its “Cubs of the Caliphate” unit shooting prisoners at close range. Although the Islamic State has become notorious for its systematic indoctrination and use of children, media coverage has largely failed to acknowledge that it is but one of many armed groups in Syria and Iraq that have recruited underage girls and boys.
In a new study for United Nations University, I analyze patterns of child recruitment by 10 of the major armed groups participating in the geographically linked conflicts in Syria and Iraq.… Seguir leyendo »
During a visit to the Egyptian governorate of North Sinai on Aug. 10, I watched as scores of pickup trucks, packed with hard-line Islamists waving the black flags associated with al-Qaeda, poured onto a major road. They were heading to the funeral of five militants who had been killed the day before in a drone strike — allegedly Israeli — as they prepared to launch a rocket into Israel from the border city of Rafah. Those in the procession waved signs calling for jihad against the Egyptian military and Israel, whose cooperation on counterterrorism operations has been condemned by Sinai-based jihadist groups.… Seguir leyendo »