The first summer month became tragic not only for Russian history. In the summer of 2014, events in Iraq were very similar to what happened in June 1941. These events had a different scale and other reasons. But in both cases it led to disaster. The price that the Soviet Union paid for the mistakes of the “leader” is known. As for Iraq, the punishment for the “blind” policy of Nuri al-Maliki was the fall of Mosul and the proclamation of the Caliphate, after which the “Islamic State” (IS), not yet banned in Russia and not too well known to the world, burst onto the front pages of all world media.
Since then, there have been many different events. First, the militants came close to Baghdad, tried to direct expansion north and west. As a result, the terrorists lost the war. But as for the newly emerged Caliphate, it managed to demonstrate rather high efficiency. Sadly, but true: The Caliphate turned out to be a more valuable state than many diplomatically admitted countries, and this raised the grouping to a level that for the terrorists of the “old school” seemed inaccessible. And in combination with the colossal budget and the prohibitive level of cruelty, this factor turned the IS into what it is today – an organic element of the Middle Eastern construction.
To expect that the grouping will disappear somewhere – today, tomorrow, in five or ten years – a foolish and fatal mistake. The Islamic world shows us many examples of the long-term survival of such organizations in much worse conditions. Therefore, instead of asking when the IS will be finished, one should ask: will the group be able to return to the format of the summer of 2014? And now, four years after the proclamation of the Caliphate and exactly one year after the liberation of Mosul, it’s time for this.
And to answer this question, we need to look at the Middle East in general, and in its supplemented edition, which includes not only the Arab world and neighboring Islamic countries, but also peripheral states with a significant Muslim population. In this case, the first thing that we will see is that all the countries that underwent expansion of the IS, the situation actually improved only in Syria, because there these improvements are not superficial, but fundamental.
The fact is that in the autumn 2015 the militants were very close to seize Homs and Damascus. The scale of the concomitant massacre that would have started on the streets of the Syrian capital is not even assessable. Today the situation has changed.
Explosions are no longer audible in Damascus, the government Armed Forces takes control of the Jordanian border, and life returns to Aleppo and East Gutu. And although Russia’s contribution can not be overestimated, the most important is that, contrary to all forecasts, the population of the liberated Syrian cities not only did not turn into fanatics, but also deradicalized.
But in Iraq everything is much worse. Although formally all cities and roads are controlled by Baghdad or Erbil, in reality the IS retreated to the same positions that it occupied in 2013, when only the focused specialists knew about existence of this group. In addition to the numerous small groups in Baghdad, Ramadi, Tikrit and Mosul, the militants are holding isolated locations in the mountainous areas bordering Iran, in the areas of Anbar and Diyala, and most importantly, in the mountains of Kirkuk, where operations control are in the city and on the Kirkuk-Baghdad highway, where the IS members catch and destroy high-ranking military and local government officials. But it was with this fact that the group started.
Most of all IS is helped by the fact that in Iraq unlike Syria no fundamental problem has been solved. It led to the disaster in 2014. Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis still live in different worlds, not identifying themselves with a single state and not feeling part of a single whole. And this means that at any time an already broken country can again breake confessional borders.
In Yemen, during civil war, the IS is engaged in the preparation of caches and bribery of the outsider tribes, counting on the final disintegration of the state in the next 5 years. In Afghanistan, the IS people rely on internal contradictions in the ranks of Taliban, which are growing rapidly after the official recognition of the death of Mullah Omar. In addition, terrorists are actively using Afghanistan as a transit point for expansion north into Central Asia, and eastwards through Pakistan to Kashmir, where IS has visibly intensified in recent months.
Well, what about Libya. Although in autumn 2016, having lost Sirte, the US members surrendered their positions, in the following months they were able to increase their activity again and even relocate their surviving units to Libya. Some experts say that Abu Bakr is also there. In any case, the IS has strong positions in Libya in areas south of Misurata, Benghazi and Sirte.
In addition, due to informal arrangements with the Libyan tribes and the Tuareg and Tubu ethnic militias, the IS uses the communication routes leading northwest to Tunis, southeast to Sudan, and south to Africa.
It can create the prerequisites for a new catastrophe in the future. The weakness of African governments and economic hopelessness with the high level of self-organization of Muslim communities are becoming an ideal base for rapid radicalization, which can become a solid foundation for the revival of the Caliphate in completely new territories.
In any case, such event will depend on the relationship between the IS and the already established Jihadist groupings in Africa. And if the local al-Qaida division, which successfully operates in Mali, can not be established then relations between the Nigerian “Boko Haram” are excellent. But there is still the Horn of Africa with “Al-Shabaab”, there is the CAR, where the Sunni group “Selek” became famous for massacres against the Christian population.
The field for the further activity of the Islamic state is not limited. As for the militants, it seems that they do not lose their optimism. And the best proof of this is the interest in absolutely exotic regions like Indonesia and the Philippines.

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