JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

The Rise and Future of ISIS

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  • October 2016
    Volume: 
    10
    Issue: 
    4
    Focus

    The article discusses the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and focuses on its future. It explores the major milestones in the phenomenal rise of ISIS, which has surprised many geopolitical and military experts. It also briefly traces its journey as it gained ground in parts of Iraq, Syria and Libya, and the support it received from unexpected quarters of the world. The strong presence of ISIS in the digital medium has become a defining feature of the group. The military and political characteristics of the ISIS have also made it vulnerable by making it a visible target, denying it the advantages of a formless, diffused organisation, which has been the traditional refuge of terrorist organisations worldwide. This article explores the future scenarios that are likely to manifest with the ISIS as it begins to lose power and influence in its traditional strongholds. It discusses three possible scenarios based on the loss of leadership, loss of territory and one in which the group retains leadership and territory in the backdrop of constant digital presence. The article also takes into account a wild card scenario envisaging ISIS obtaining a nuclear bomb from a state’s arsenal or developing one on its own.

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