Mosul, the Islamic State’s most prized stronghold in Iraq and the location where the Caliphate was initially declared (in 2014), has fallen out of the terrorist group’s grasp two days ago after Iraqi special forces pushed forwards into the ruins. This victory for Iraq holds massive symbolic significance and serves to be a milestone for the conflict in the Middle East as one of Daesh’s most well-known territories has fallen from their control; this comes in line with a declaration from the Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi who claimed that this was the “end of the Daesh state” in Iraq. Whilst the conflict in the Middle East has been ongoing for many years now, we could be reaching a turning point which might see peace on the horizon following the horrific violence inflicted by Daesh’s fictitious state.
To take stock of the declining power of Daesh, the initial place where the Caliphate was once declared has fallen from the control of Daesh; soon enough we might be able to say the same for the terrorist group’s supposed capital, Raqqa, as various forces mobilise around the city and prepare to rid the city of the Islamic State (Nazer, 2017). In line with this decline in territory (which has been reduced by 60% from its peak approximately two years ago), the finances of the Islamic State have reduced by approximately 80%, according to financial services company ‘IHS Markit’ which helps signify the decline of the organisation’s power and influence (Financial Tribute, 2017). Whilst Caliph ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s’ location remains somewhat debatable, it is purported that he may have been forced into hiding around the Syrian / Iraqi border (Mansfield, 2017). It is at this point that we can see a clear decline in Daesh’s influence and power in the Middle East, as their financial resources and territories decline and dwindle, a trend which we can hope will continue.
Whilst this decline in power is evident, there are still tough times ahead. The Islamic State still control a territory which is the approximate size of Belgium and they do still have money at their disposal (despite massive declines in their funding) along with weapons (Financial Tribute, 2017). Although there has been no chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks in the EU, Daesh have drastically increased their knowledge of explosives and have reportedly obtained access to chemical agents in abandoned facilities and there is a concern that this technology might be utilised in future terror attacks on EU countries (Europol, 2017). As such, whilst it is clear that there are tough times ahead as nations address the threat of Daesh, it appears that the terrorist organisation’s power is on the decline.
Europol (2017). European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2017. [Online]. Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/2017-eu-terrorism-report-142-failed-foiled-and-completed-attacks-1002-arrests-and-142-victims-died (Accessed 2nd July 2017).
Financial Tribute (2017). Iraq Declares End of IS-Terror Rule in Mosul. [Online]. Available at: https://financialtribune.com/articles/international/67381/iraq-declares-end-of-is-terror-rule-in-mosul (Accessed 2nd July 2017).
Manfield, K. (2017). End of ISIS – Iraqi PM declares Islamic State is FINISHED as key Mosul mosque is captured. [Online]. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/822803/islamic-state-isis-end-mosul-iraq-forces-capture-al-nuri-mosque-latest-updates (Accessed 2nd July 2017).
Nazer, F. (2017). Is this the end of Daesh? [Online]. Available at: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1122921 (Accessed 2nd July 2017).
Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/talllguy/13582659735/”>Elliott Plack</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/71030a”>Visual hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”> CC BY-SA</a>