In the coming months, and indeed even now their has been much debate over what the future of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS will look like. The general consensus in the intelligence community, and Television Experts is that once the Caliphate which has its center in Ar-Raqqa, Syria; and Mosul, Iraq; the group will morph into a highly skilled, highly mass media fluent terrorist diaspora. They go on to say that ISIS will become a smattering of nodes or terrorist cells which will have some visibility amongst each other, but will for the most part operate independently from one another, causing death and mayhem at random and with little to no external prompt. I, however take a contrarian view. For multiple reasons If you’ll indulge me.
The most glaring reason which I think should be under more careful consideration is the quality of life expected for a lot of these ISIS fighters. Most were probably living in the lap of despotism. That is to say extreme luxury, with amorality the likes of which, with the liberation of parts of Mosul, were only now beginning to comprehend, and fully appreciate. I think we’ve all heard the media reports, and by all accounts their true. Sex Slaves, Torture, Hedonism, Sexual Amorality, Sadism, the list of deadly sins committed is endless. So then where does one go to when he has perverted his mind to the degree that he’s no longer comfortable living in a polite society? Certainly not the United States, or France, or Britain, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter. The fact remains that these young men, and they are mostly young men have so pursued ideals of escapism that they no longer would feel comfortable in a “normal” society. Their behavior would make them stick out like a sore thumb to any domestic intelligence agency.
Money is also a factor in their decision making. As I said earlier they have been living in luxury, a lifestyle they could have only dreamed of in the West. This leads me to believe that most of them will decide to cut ties with the group and horde as many resources as possible before departing the self declared caliphate. While others will simply decide to either kill themselves or go down fighting for the caliphate till the very end.
Also look at the amount of social media traffic which has declined precipitously beginning with the death of Jihadi John late last year. Western intelligence agencies have begun to infiltrate and intercept the communications and online traffic which reached its pinnacle in the Summer of 2015. This has led to a decrease in traffic, but also the successful military missions against the Islamic State in not only Syria, and Iraq, but also Libya and other parts of Asia, and Africa. These battlefield successes have led to not only a marked decrease in social media presence for ISIS, but also a failure to recruit indigenous, and foreign fighters.
Another reason I see the former ISIS terrorist not conforming to this model is I think that a lot of them genuinely believed in the mission of the caliphate, they genuinely saw Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as the source of their salvation. In short a lot of them were just lost souls looking for someone who believed in them. This leads me to believe something I alluded to earlier that they would rather go down fighting for something, and someone that they truly believed in rather than return to a housing project in London, or government subsidies in Paris, France. And for those that are captured on the battlefield and held in detention under lengthy sentences it may still exist, but only in their hearts.
So then, while I would like to agree with the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community that the Islamic State will grow and metastasize into something wholly different, but still just as dangerous as the current situation we have. I must demure and draw the conclusion that once the Islamic State ceases to exist on the map, their will be no room for it to continue either here in America, or elsewhere in the world.