27 June 2015
ON MONDAY, it will be a year since the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) formally declared the establishment of a worldwide caliphate, with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the new caliph. What has the year of the caliphate taught us? What are the real threats? How has ISIS changed? How should we?
Contrary to widely held belief, returned foreign fighters do not – yet – pose the main threat to their countries. Across the key geographic theatres, the vast majority of plots, whether realised or not, have been conceived by sympathisers inspired by ISIS ideology (in some cases, empowered by ISIS calls to carry out attacks in their home countries) but acting independently of the extremists’ control.
The plain fact, however, is that we do not know how ISIS targeting will evolve. ISIS will likely continue to concentrate on expanding its caliphate and consolidating the areas it holds, while from time to time prompting its sympathisers to carry out attacks (as it does now).
… The writer is head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
CENS / GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015