Summary of After the Islamic State

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Islamic State is losing ground to counterterrorism efforts and competing jihadist groups, but the “quest for the caliphate” won’t die with its defeat. Reporter Robin Wright explains the link between the rise of Islamic State and the increasing political chaos in the Middle East, explores how the recent decline in Islamic State’s influence is affecting the broader jihadist movement, and details why the idea of the caliphate – whether in the hands of Islamic State or another organization – will continue to inspire modern jihadism. getAbstract recommends this article to everyone interested in Middle East affairs and counterterrorism.

About the Author

Robin Wright is a contributing writer for The New Yorker. She is a joint fellow at the US Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.



In the years following the founding of Islamic State – while counterterrorism efforts focused on al-Qaeda, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 – the group gained control of vast territories in Iraq and Syria. It formally declared the formation of the caliphate in June 2014. Although since that time it has lost more than 40% of its total caliphate, Islamic State continues to attack towns like Ras Baalbek – a Christian enclave on the Lebanese-Syrian border – and to encourage “lone wolf” jihadist actions like those seen in Europe in 2015 and 2016, which used...

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