In theory, declaring a caliphate should have painted a huge target on the Islamic State’s back. But after the group (née “the JV team”) announced that it established a caliphate in Iraq and Syria last June, it has continued to hold onto its territory as the coalition fighting the jihadists slowly picks away at the “state.” Indeed, Islamic State-linked jihadists have launched attacks as far away as Pakistan, Algeria and Yemen, and those inspired by the Islamic State have struck both the U.S. and Europe. Now, officials in Afghanistan say the group is in that country, placing the Islamic State in competition with the Taliban over whose caliphate should be established. However, the Islamic State’s strategy has made it less of a threat to the United States than al-Qaida, writes Scott Stewart for Stratfor Global Intelligence. “Al Qaeda argues that the caliphate can be established only after the United States and its European allies have been defeated, to the extent that they can no longer interfere in Muslim lands… The Islamic State takes the opposite tack. It has adopted a more urgent ‘why wait?’ approach and concentrates its efforts on immediately taking, holding and governing territory.” This comes as the levels of terrorism at home and abroad are on the rise and as Independence Day weekend coincides with the month of Ramadan. So much for Barack Obama’s campaign to degrade and decimate our jihadist foes.
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