They will go, but return

Beginning from the fall of 2016 the area of ISIS has been reduced. Iraqi security forces and the mobilization forces at the cost of great losses managed to knock out most of the militants from key cities. In Syria, the Kurds and the SAA with the help of Russian aerospace forces and Pro-Iranian groups also displaced ISIS from the cities and heading to their last major stronghold of Deir ez-Zor.

Without a doubt, the leadership of the ISIS is fully aware that strategically this war is impossible to win, because of incomparability of the parties opportunities. However, we are talking only about the defeat of ISIS as a quasi-state and hybrid (hierarchical and network) structure. If and when the radicals pushed out of all major settlements, they will immediately go to the network exist. In this case, organizationally ISIS will be similar to the classic terrorist organizations with the zone structure and will be included in the third phase of its survival. In a sense, for local authorities it will not be a military issue, but will remain a security threat. But there is another important point. Supporters of ISIS in several years of clandestine activity and during the creation of quasi-state structures have gained immense experience, knowledge and accumulated resources, including financial. And this potential they can use in other regions where the radicals were going to move after the defeat of the Syrian-Iraqi mother nucleus. It is enough to recall the provinces outside of Iraq and the Levant – Najd, al-Hijaz (KSA), Sinai (Egypt), al-Barka, Tarabulus, Fizan (Libya), al-Djazair (Algeria), Gharb Ifrikiya (Nigeria), al-Liwa al-Ahdar, Abyad Aden, Shabwah, Hadramout, al-Bayda, Sana’a (Yemen), Khorasan (Afghanistan), al-Kavkaz (Russia). We can also add South-East Asia. In these regions will have to solve problems that were already solved in Syria and Iraq. In particular, to increase the resource base to attract people and Finance. This requires to control the cash flows, mostly of a criminal nature: drug trafficking, trafficking in weapons, people and energy. Here Afghanistan particularly valuable plantations of opiates, oil-rich Libya, Indonesia, where live more than 200 million Muslims, Egypt and Yemen due to its proximity to strategic sea routes. These regions are considered, and in some cases already used by ISIS as their Renaissance.

Thus, in Syria and Iraq, we observed the pattern of ISIS development, which is implemented in accordance with the logic of the circumstances. If ISIS is opposed by several coalitions, it goes to a primitive network form of existence, but more stable in terms of clandestine, irregular struggle. As soon as the situation improves, with appropriate specialists to implement version 2.0 of the ISIS. However, in provinces where there is not the professionals, who were Baathists in Iraq, to construct a new quasi state is impossible.

To study ISIS is  very useful. This is a very serious enemy – not least because of the global nature of ideology. One of the provinces of ISIS is in the North Caucasus, a few in the neighboring countries of Russia. We have a significant number of Sunni Muslims, among whom the ideas of ISIS will be all the more contagious, the more socio-economic and political crises, when the radicalization of the population of a certain religious group becomes more likely.

But not only therefore, you should closely examine ISIS. The experience of its survival and ability to resist the orders of magnitude of the superior opponents must be carefully disassembled and, if necessary, to use in order to effectively counter irregular, decentralized groups whose Subversion can be activated in the regions of Russia. Finally, it is important to remember that in our strategic interests to find non-military solutions to difficult situations. The more players involved in the armed conflict (and not only in the middle East), the stronger destroyed the infrastructure necessary for the survival of the population and, therefore, the more it creates the conditions for transition of people in a terrorist organizations that endlessly spins the flywheel of bloodshed. But that’s a separate issue.

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