Foreign Policy Digital

What Comes After ISIS?

The United States is good at using military might to defeat terrorists—but without a plan for clean, competent governance in areas once ruled by the Islamic State, the threat will remain.

Over four years ago, in June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate in Iraq and Syria with himself as the caliph. His group, which he renamed the Islamic State to mark this momentous occasion, controlled territory the size of Britain and a population of 10 million people, dwarfing the accomplishments of al Qaeda and other jihadi groups.

By taking sex slaves, sponsoring terrorist attacks, videotaping the beheadings of hostages, and relentlessly pressing its case on social media, the Islamic State horrified and captivated the world. In the United States, fears of terrorism surged, helping propel the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. But that was then. Today, the caliphate is gone, with its last territory being conquered by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. There is much to learn from the Islamic State’s initial success and its rapid downfall.

Holding territory is both

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Foreign Policy Digital

Foreign Policy Digital5 min readPolitics
In Texas, Trump Hitches His Wagon to Modi’s Star
On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump will take part in one of the largest rallies he’s been part of since becoming president. But he won’t be the main event. That would be Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to speak in front of n
Foreign Policy Digital5 min readPolitics
Can O’Brien Succeed as National Security Advisor?
After firing his first three national security advisors, U.S. President Donald Trump has just named a fourth, the most any president has had in his first term. Will Robert O’Brien be any more successful than the previous three? That, of course, depen
Foreign Policy Digital8 min readSociety
South Africans Are Used to Being the Targets of Racist Hatred. Now They’ve Become the Haters.
The ANC government must acknowledge that xenophobic violence is a hate crime and a betrayal of the African allies that aided it during the darkest days of apartheid.