Has ISIS Been Defeated? The Future and Further Development of ISIS

Essay, 2019

10 Pages, Grade: 70


Table of Contents


I. Root cause for rising ISIS

Book: Fawaz A. Gerges,

ISIS: A History

II. Starting point of ISIS

Image: Camp Bucca,

“Al- Qaeda School”

III. Further development of ISIS and its aims

Journal Article: Aghayev, Elvin, Reasons for the Emergence of the “Islamic State”

IV. Has ISIS Been Defeated?

Twitter: Twitter post from President of Donald J. Trump

V. The Future of ISIS

Video: Ret. Gen. John Allen, on the future of ISIS


The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-ShamI (ISIS) is the world’s most dangerous, terrorist organization that follows the ideology of Salafist Jihadist groups, which fight in the name of Islam by creating an Islamic state in the world. President Donald Trump tweeted on 19th December 2018 that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria, claiming the Islamic State terror group had been defeated and that there was no longer a reason to deploy U.S. forces in the war-torn nation (@realDonaldTrump, 2018). Has ISIS really been defeated? A lot of politicians, journalist, authors and scientists say simply no, because “regardless of what happens to ISIS, this ideology (jihadi-salafism) is there to stay” (Gerges, 2017, p. 291), the Caliphate has been destroyed, yes but the ISIS ideology is still everywhere.

This Dossier will tackle whether ISIS has been defeated or not. The Dossier will be divided into followings parts. (1) The Root cause for rising ISIS, (2) Starting point of ISIS, (3) Further development of ISIS and its aims, (4) Has ISIS been Defeated? (5) The last part will discuss briefly the future of ISIS and end the dossier with a short conclusion.

I. Root cause for rising ISIS

Book: FAWAZ A. GERGES (2017) ISIS: A History. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press.

The U.S. military attacks on invasion of Iraq in 2003 have had an impact on the creation of ISIS. (Donnelly, 2016). FAWAZ A. GERGES Book ISIS: A History gives some details about how the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the start point for the Islamic State. Gerges claims in his book that the main factor of ISIS’s rebirth “can be seen as an extension of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) which was itself a creature of the 2003 US- led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath” (Gerges, 2017, p. 8). However, after nineteen days of throwing Saddam’s government out, the U.S occupying authorities disbanded the Iraqi Army. This decision upset Iraqi men who due to their previous profession, were armed, angry, and possessed military training and suddenly made them humiliated and out of work. (Filkins, 2015) Further, the destruction of Iraq’s institutions “triggered a deep sectarian divide between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims” (Gerges, 2017, p. 11) which could be argued led to the rise of ISIS from “an inconsequential nonstate actor to an Islamic state” (Gerges, 2017, p. 12). Moreover, killing thousands of Iraqis, torturing them in Abu Ghraib prison, and making them jobless helped drive thousands of Iraqis into the arms of radical groups. Besides, David Kilcullen a former military advisor to the U.S. claimed in his interview with Channel 4, “There would be no ISIS if we had not invaded Iraq,” (Dearden, 2016). In short, it could be said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was behind the rise of ISIS.

II. Starting point of ISIS:

Image: Camp Bucca: The US prison that became the birthplace of Isis. Availabel at:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/camp-bucca-the-us-prison-that-became-the-birthplace-of-isis-9838905.html (Accessed 16. March, 2019).

This image was removed by the editing department for copyright reasons.

The above photo shows Camp Bucca Prison, which was a US-established detention camp near Umm Qasr, during Iraq’s war. The detainees were Jihadists, Ex-soldiers of Saddam and ordinary Iraqis (Barrett, 2014 ). A lot of them became later members of ISIS. Furthermore, the camp Bucca gave these Jihadists the opportunity to meet and build their networks and to create their Ideology in the shadow of the U.S. military. The relationships between AQI and ex-Ba’athist members of Saddam Hussein became strong by gathering themselves together in camp Bucca’s prison (Barrett, 2014 ). To add, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS was in that Camp. Baghdadi was picked up by U.S. military forces on suspicions of supporting Al- Qaeda in early 2004 (Barrett, 2014 ) yet was released in 2009. According to one former ISIS soldier who spoke to the Guardian, “If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.” (Chulov, 2014). He also added, “We had so much time to sit and plan” (Chulov, 2014).

This ideology was from the beginning determined by ideas designed to spread their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam with terror. The group “considers others who do not agree with its understandings as apostates” (Bozorgmehri, 2018). It assumes that only its fundamentalist interpretation of Islam would be valid in the world and it aims to found “a State that encompasses the Arab World” (Lekas, 2015, p. 314). Briefly, it could be said, that Camp Bucca was “Al- Qaeda School” for creating ISIS.

III. Further development of ISIS and its aims:

Journal Article: Aghayev, E., 2017. Reasons for the Emergence of the “Islamic State”. European Researcher. Series A, 8(2), pp. 63-69.

The ISIS terror group organization changed its name several times. Al Baghdadi created the current name of ISIS as he took leadership of the Islamic state in 2010. Abu Baker al- Baghdadi took advantage of the outbreak of the crisis in neighboring Syria in 2011 to move there and expand in 2013. His goal was to seize Syrian territory and connect it to Iraq. It was “first and foremost an extension of the global Salafi - jihadist movement” (Gerges, 2017, p. 23). In the spring of 2013, Al-Baghdadi created the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” and set itself apart from the Nusra Front, which until then had a kind of leading position as “Al-Qaeda in Syria”. By October 2014, the self-declared ‘Caliphate’ of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was in control of territory stretching from North of Aleppo to South of Baghdad and included the cities of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. To add, about six million people on either side of the Syria Iraq border were living under its rule. Furthermore, ISIS’s peak of power was in 2015 (Clarke, 2018). Besides, the main source of financing itself were, selling oil to Turkey in the black market, taxes on businesses and individuals, tolls on commercial road traffic, the sale of captured equipment, the operation of stolen factories, and a variety of more traditional criminal activities such as kidnap for ransom, looting, extortion and protection money. They threatened not only the Middle East but also the entire Western world with terrorist attacks. For example, the terrorist attack on Bataclan (Paris) in 2015 (Baker, 2015). However, after the Bataclan attack in Paris in 2015, a “coalition of the willing” was made by the Obama administration for fighting ISIS. Obama said, “The United States, France and our coalition of some 65 nations have been united in one mission — to destroy these ISIL terrorists” (Baker, 2015). As a result, the Kurdish Forces with the U.S. military forces waged an incredibly successful military campaign against ISIS and they destroyed its last physical territory in Syria Baghouz on March 23 a few months ago.

IV. Has ISIS been Defeated?

Twitter posts: @realDonaldTrump (2018) 19 December 2018. Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1075528854402256896. [Accessed 4 April 2019].

But is the “Islamic state” really defeated? Trump posted on Twitter that “we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during my Presidency” (@realDonaldTrump, 2018). Is this declaration of Tramp true? No, not according to Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who said that the decision of Tramp to withdraw from Syria “has rattled the world”, he also added “none of us believe that ISIS has been defeated” and what “ happened in Iraq is going to happen in Syria unless we change course” (Landler, et al., 2019). This claim of Trump has made many security experts push back against his administrative policy and “brought a storm of protest in Congress”. However, after declaring victory over the “Islamic State”, ISIS has announced its responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Syrian city of Minbij. According to the CNN report, at least 10 people were killed among them including two U.S. service members, a defense contractor and a Department of Defense civilian (Cohen, et al., 2019). Another aftermath of an ISIS attack was a suicide car bomber targeted a joint patrol of American and Kurdish forces in Hasakah province of northeast Syria (BICOM, 2019). Thus, it is obvious that ISIS has “not been defeated”, because the loss of physical territory does not mean the loss of militant capabilities and Ideology. “It would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now,” former U.S. anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk told journalists on Dec. 21 in protest over the troop withdrawal (Hincks, 2019). McGurk also added an interview with CNN, “We are on Track nowhere over the coming months to defeat what used to be the physical space that ISIS controlled. That will not be the end of ISIS” (Kiely, 2019). Despite that coalition military success, it could be said that ISIS’s ideology is still active, not only in Syria and Iraq but with affiliate groups around the world. “It still has as many as 30,000 armed militants” (Metz, 2019), who are “migrating to different parts of the world, fighting government forces from Nigeria to Afghanistan to the Philippines, while it’s guerrilla tactics and terrorist attacks continue in Iraq” (Metz, 2019). In short, not ISIS, but the Islamic state was overthrown! ISIS has now lost its military control over the area, but not it’s Ideology.


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Has ISIS Been Defeated? The Future and Further Development of ISIS
University of Winchester
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISIS#, Trump, Al- Qaeda School, Kurds
Quote paper
Nidal Rashow (Author), 2019, Has ISIS Been Defeated? The Future and Further Development of ISIS, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1008312


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