Home » Counterterrorism » Assessing the power and influence of the so-called Islamic state

Assessing the power and influence of the so-called Islamic state

Colum Lynch’s article in Foreign Policy this week — entitled “Islamic State’s ‘Shock and Awe’ Campaign Fuels Global Jihad, U.N. Says” — is well worth a read if you haven’t yet seen it. The piece reviews the findings and recommendations contained in a draft U.N. Security Council report on the self-styled Islamic State. The report is said to be “the most detailed assessment of the Islamic State’s command structure, military capabilities, and varied funding sources.” Key findings include:

“The impact of the ISIL phenomenon will be long-term and likely substantial, even in the event of ISIL’s progress being rapidly and comprehensively reversed in late 2014.”

“ISIL’s temporary progress has already excited a wave of emulation by other groups, including networks outside the Middle East…”

“The group has a deep bench of experienced fighters who could become a ‘transnational cadre and mobile pool of expert terrorists who can combine terrorist, guerrilla, and conventional tactics when planning attacks’.”

“Although unlikely in the short term, should ISIL and [Nusra] come under existential pressure in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, the temptation to use non-conventional or high impact weapons will grow…”

While The New York Times reported on the very same day that the “ISIS Wave of Might Is Turning Into Ripple,” the U.N. report suggests that the damage may already be done, with consequences manifesting outside the immediate conflict zones of Iraq and Syria.