Summary of The Evolving Terrorist Threat: Implications for Global Security

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ISIS forces are retreating from territory they held in Iraq and Syria, but don’t get too excited: They remain a long-term threat. Fighting in Syria, in particular, will likely continue for months, according to expert opinion from this RAND Corporation panel. Once pushed out of its caliphate, ISIS will simply move back underground and continue to wreak havoc, the panel predicts. During this discussion, a former US ambassador to Iraq and several analysts provide a mostly dour view about how the charge against ISIS will play out. getAbstract recommends this study to policy makers and global managers seeking the latest insights about one of the world’s hot zones.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why ISIS is on the run but still a threat,
  • What strategy might prove most tactical for the US government and
  • How the Kurds might affect the future of Iraq.

About the Speakers

Ryan C. Crocker was the US ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009. Linda Robinson is a senior policy researcher and Lynn E. Davis is a senior fellow, both at RAND Corporation. William McCants is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.



Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has proven remarkably resilient. Despite the combat fatalities of some 60,000 ISIS soldiers and the loss of key leaders and crucial territory, ISIS continues to battle for turf in contested parts of Iraq and Syria. In Syria, particularly, months of fighting remain. And even if ISIS cedes the territory it holds across the Middle East, it won’t disappear. ISIS will continue as active insurgency and a long-term threat, in large part because of its numerous devoted followers. Additionally, the organization has learned how to raise millions of dollars a year by running extortion rackets. As ISIS suffers defeats, the Iraqi regime has made insufficient effort toward reconciliation, so deeply held resentments continue to fester. What’s more, the Iraqi government hasn’t invested in the infrastructure, police forces or local economies in Mosul, Kirkuk, and other ISIS hotbeds. With Baghdad unable to exert influence in those areas, ISIS will continue to exploit the power vacuum.

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