ISIS occupied the Levant like
Applying a human medical analogy helps illustrate ISIS and its capacity to spread its adherents out from its “caliphate” early in its existence. At its height, ISIS distributed fighters to key geographical areas, especially Libya and Southeast Asia via Malaysia. The ability to
The fact that ISIS’s essence is based on hate, and
What is most important to understand about ISIS now is what happens to the other groups that pledged allegiance to it and its leader. With that central core gone, a key question needs to be asked: Does the absence of ISIS territory in the Levant mean anything to these affiliated groups? No, the end of ISIS in the northeast corner of Syria does not matter. These groups are more interested in building their own local networks and appealing to outcasts who live in their area. They too use local grievances to enter specific locations, while engaging in criminal acts to self-sustain and operate.
Meanwhile, there is a looming question about ISIS’s money. The fact that its Syrian branch still has hundreds of millions of dollars is a major factor in what happens next. Forensic work is necessary on how best to track down these assets. Smashing the physical territory of ISIS did not destroy its investments in the local economy, and there is
Exactly how these accounts and holdings are going to support any future movement in the Levant is subject to events on the ground, where sustainability of effort will become key. The next wave of ISIS will reappear when the time is right, given that these investments can be made available. Considering the security environment in Syria and its environs, enforcement will be challenging and local responsibility may very well not exist in a manner conducive to stopping such behavior. If the opportunity to seize them does not arrive, these monies most certainly will be diverted to another project or projects.
Beyond that is where hawala, laundering
ISIS’s mutation is likely given that any such affiliate is based on local issues and the direction of these groups is not organized in any meaningful matter. This aspect of the extremist movement — the space occupied by ISIS — remains potent and dangerous. It is not limited to specific corners of the earth but is everywhere, except formally in Latin America. This continent may be the next frontier.
Overall, the affiliates and their adherents are fighting on the ground that they currently occupy and attempting to build their power and spread their influence locally. Adherents look for other countries that suffer daily and where hatred, which can take many
It is significant to note that hate is a driver of social destruction not only in terms of race and ethnic