Small Wars Journal

ISIS's Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency

ISIS's Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency by Jennifer Cafarella, Brandon Wallace and Jason Zhou – Institute for the Study of War

The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is not defeated despite the loss of the territory it claimed as its so-called ‘Caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria. It is stronger today than its predecessor Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was in 2011, when the U.S. withdrew from Iraq. AQI had around 700-1000 fighters then.  ISIS had as many as 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria in August 2018 according to a Defense Intelligence Agency estimate. ISIS built from the small remnant left in 2011 an army large enough to recapture Fallujah, Mosul, and other cities in Iraq and dominate much of eastern Syria in only three years.  It will recover much faster and to a much more dangerous level from the far larger force it still has today…

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