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The Islamic State Inside Iraq: Losing Power or Preserving Strength?

Michael Knights

Also available in العربية

CTC Sentinel

December 21, 2018


Attack data shows that the group is enthusiastically regrouping in a more concentrated area of northern Iraq, and the government is not adapting fast enough to stop it.

In addition to losing control of Iraqi cities and oilfields, the Islamic State has clearly lost much of the capability it developed within Iraq from 2011-2014. Quantitative attack metrics paint a picture of an insurgent movement that has been ripped down to its roots, but qualitative and district-level analysis suggests the Islamic State is enthusiastically embracing the challenge of starting over within a more concentrated area of northern Iraq. The Iraqi government is arguably not adapting fast enough to the demands of counterinsurgency, suggesting the need for intensified and accelerated support from the U.S.-led coalition in order to prevent the Islamic State from mounting another successful recovery...

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