The ISIS of 2014 that seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and orchestrated terror attacks across the world is no more, infers David French of National Review. The Iraqi army has expelled the caliphate and has secured its border with Syria. American-backed forces now hold Raqqa, ISIS’s former capital. While jihadist cells still exist in the shadows, the Islamic State’s army has been defeated. The international coalition, led by a highly effective US air campaign, thoroughly squashed the group. Tens of thousands of its fighters are now dead. This news seems to have gone under the radar, but it is certainly a cause for celebration.
Defeated on the battlefield, ISIS lives on through extensive participation in Iraq’s shadow economy and other investments, report Renad Mansour and Hisham Al-Hashimi of Foreign Policy. By one estimate, the group managed to smuggle $400 million out of Iraq and Syria. A portion of its wealth has been converted into dollars, which can be used internationally. The caliphate that long profited from smuggling goods also has more legitimate dealings. Corrupt politicians and businessmen allow ISIS to invest through third parties and grow its wealth. Until the caliphate’s financial capabilities are neutralized, it will always remain a threat.