The future of ISIS and Sunni jihadism
[Rudaw] Hassan Hassa, the director of Nonstate Actors Program at the Center for Global Policy, speaks with Rudaw news hound Roj Eli Zalla during The Washington Perspective on March 15, 2019.
| Forty-five minute video interview in English can be watched at the link.|
As Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the US-led international coalition continue to squeeze Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling
Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not
(ISIS) fighters into their last stronghold in Syria of al-Baghouz, the group has effectively lost its "caliphate" but will return to insurgency tactics.
"Nobody expected this many people to stay until the end in that piece of land between Iraq and Syria," said Hassan Hassan.
He also contributed underestimations of remaining ISIS fighters to a "lack of visibility" among the coalition.
"They thought ISIS is already finished after Raqqa," Hassan said, referring to the international coalition.
He argued even ISIS was unsure whether Baghouz would be the spot of their final battle against the SDF and coalition.
Hassan mentions that ISIS was active on multiple fronts in southern Hasaka and there were even talks of an Iraqi Security Forces offensive across the border.
"I don't think ISIS knew Baghouz would be the last stand, but they prepared for this kind of scenario in different areas. So if wouldn't have been Baghouz, it would have been probably either Hajin or Sousa or Shafa..." he surmised.
Hassan predicts the next phase for ISIS is "insurgency" similar to conditions in 2014.
Shift in Sunni extremism
Hassan argues that jihadism by Sunnis has become more localized, offering examples in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya.
"What happened from 2011 until now is we started to see the jihadis and jihadists groups across the region ‐ Sunni groups ‐ being submerged in local struggles, in local conflicts," he said.
"It changed their priorities. Their enemies are local."
He offers the example of the difference in the late Osama bin Laden
... who doesn't live anywhere anymore...
and Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi's forms of jihadism.
Posted by: trailing wife 2019-03-17