Summary of After the Islamic State

As the caliphate crumbles, rival movements struggle for the soul of Sunni jihadism.

The New Yorker,

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After the Islamic State summary
Islamic State appears ready to fall, but the ideal of the caliphate driving jihadism won’t be easy to vanquish.


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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.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Middle Eastern instability both enabled and results from the rise of the Islamic State,
  • How the idea of the caliphate feeds modern jihadist movements, and
  • How other jihadi organizations are responding to Islamic State’s lessening power.


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 ...
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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.

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