n the year since the Islamic State militant group tore through the Middle East and took control of Iraq’s second-largest city, the US has been scrambling to come up with an effective strategy to defeat the militants.
Report by Pamela Engel for Business Insider:
Meanwhile, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) is winning by successfully settling in as Iraq and Syria crumble.
“A year after the Islamic State seized Mosul, and 10 months after the United States and its allies launched a campaign of airstrikes against it, the jihadist group continues to dig in, stitching itself deeper into the fabric of the communities it controls,” Ben Hubbard of The New York Times reports.
The Times, citing interviews with residents, notes that ISIS “is offering reliable, if harsh, security; providing jobs in decimated economies; and projecting a rare sense of order in a region overwhelmed by conflict.”
And by doing so, the group is increasingly winning over reluctant civilians.
“It is not our life, all the violence and fighting and death,” a laborer from Raqqa told The Times. “But they got rid of the tyranny of the Arab rulers.”
As ISIS further entrenches itself in the areas it controls, it is becoming clear that the US isn’t anywhere close to eliminating the group.
‘They’ve clearly got the best battle plan’
After a US general insisted in December that ISIS was on the defensive, the militants seized Ramadi, the provincial capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, successfully crippling Iraqi security forces that significantly outnumbered ISIS fighters. The group then went on to take Palmyra, a strategically and historically significant town in Syria, from the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
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