Here's what's left of ISIS - and why they still pose a major threat
- The US declared victory over the Islamic State (ISIS) in March of 2019, but multiple reports show that the group is still active in those countries, and gaining traction elsewhere.
- A blistering Pentagon report blamed Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria and cut diplomatic staff in Iraq for the resurgence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
- ISIS has branches in Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and other countries where the group attempts to weaken civilian confidence in the government and stages attacks on military bases or civilians.
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While the Islamic State's caliphate - the idea of a land ruled by its radical interpretation of Islamic law - ended with US-led coalition campaigns in Iraq and Syria, the group is very much alive and regrouping in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. And its alliances with extremist groups internationally show that the group is adaptable, strategic, and not going anywhere soon.
US power vacuums in Syria and Iraq have allowed ISIS fighters to regroup, and they pose a renewed risk to the region's stability. But it's not just Iraq and Syria - ISIS is active in countries all over the world, and in some places it's growing.
President Donald Trump declared victory over ISIS in March of this year. After prolonged battles against the group in Iraq and Syria, US troops liberated the ISIS stronghold of Bahgouz, Syria in March of this year.
But just because ISIS no longer has a caliphate, that doesn't mean it doesn't have influence or power in the places it once controlled — and that it's not still incredibly dangerous.
In both Iraq and Syria, ISIS is making money by kidnapping for ransom, extorting civilians, and skimming funds off rebuilding contracts in war-torn areas. While the group's income is less than it was at its height, its many unregulated income streams make ISIS' finances much harder to track and evaluate.
In Afghanistan, the group vies with the Taliban for primacy.
ISIS-Khorasan in Afghanistan and Pakistan has links to other extremist groups in the region.
ISIS also has a major affiliate in Africa — a group calling itself Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), which split from Nigerian terror group Boko Haram in 2016.
The Islamic State in Somalia expanded its operations starting in 2018.
The Islamic State is making significant inroads in parts of the Philippines.
ISIS also claims cells in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, and the Caucasus.
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