Establishing a caliphate had
been the goal of the all the jihadist movement. By declaring that he had actually
created a caliphate, he gained a huge upper hand on Al Qaeda in the struggle
for global jihadist supremacy.
After declaring caliphate,
ISIS succeeded in attracting far more recruits ever than Al Qaeda. This also
has allowed them to gain following among other foreign terrorist groups, like ISIS
franchises in Libya, Egypt’s Sinai desert, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
However in August 2014, ISIS
made their first big mistake by invading Kurdistan.
Invasion of Kurdistan
In August 2014, ISIS invaded
Iraqi Kurdistan, and quickly advanced to within few kilometres to of the
capital Erbil. They also launched a genocide campaign against a minority group
known as Yazidi, who are also ethnically Kurdish.
This brought Peshmerga into
the war, which then since moved ISIS into a series of defeats. It also drew the
United States into the war. President Obama allowed bombing
campaign against ISIS, initially started as a limited intervention to protect
American personnels in the capital city of Erbil and stop the slaughter of the
ISIS progress into Kurdistan
was reversed. Fight back by Kurds, a regrouped Iraqi millitary, Iran backed
Shia millitias, and US aircrafts, compelled the ISIS to fall back. By early
2015, the ISIS began loosing. The Sunni city of Tikrit fell to the Iraqi forces
again in April.
Syria, where the things were
a bit better for ISIS than they had in Iraq as the multi-sided civil war did
not threw any reliable force to challenge them. But in mid 2015, Syrian Kurds
started threatening ISIS.
ISIS had attempted to invade
and conquer the Kurdish territory in Syria and came damn close. In October
2014, ISIS nearly seized Kobane, a Kurdish stronghold on Syria northern border
But the Kurds held there for
months and in January, with the help of US support and US led air strikes, they
pushed ISIS out of Kurdish territories. Then they kept going, and seized ISIS
territories elsewhere in Syria. They even advanced to within 30 miles of Raqqa.
These Kurdish victories
showed that ISIS was fighting up against the limits of their millitary
capability. The group had been fighting too many enemies on too many battle
fronts. Their ability had been limited by coalition airstrikes. Slowly but
steadily, they had started losing ground.
Turnaround to International Terrorism
On 13th November,
2015, ISIS attacked several locations in Paris that killed more than 150 and
wounded nearly 400 people. The group claimed its responsibility and later on
French govt. investigation proved it.
Paris was not the only
foreign attack ISIS had launched. Their suicide bombers hit Kuwait, Lebanon,
and Saudi Arabia too. They also claimed responsibility for taking down a
Russian civilian aircraft in Egypt Sinai desert.
The group’s primary focus
was caliphate, but while they were losing it bit by bit they needed to show
that that there victory was inevitable and divinely inspired. So while losing
territories, they needed to show there narrative through other means i.e.
claiming victory over foreign enemies by hitting them at there grounds through
Defeat and the current
Almost four years after ISIS
declaration of caliphate, there vast and ambitious project has been reduced to
rubble. Around 100,000 fighters have died since 2014, according to US military officials. The leadership has been shrunked to rump
although the so called ‘caliph’ Baghdadi survives. The administration no more
exists. The training camps are vanished. The flow of propaganda instruments in
prompting attacks such as those in the UK
has been ceased.
In October 2017, US backed Kurdish forces
ousted ISIS from Syrian town of Raqqa, which was also their de-facto capital of
terror group ‘caliphate’.
An effort to retake the
city began in early June, in an operation led by the Syrian Democratic Forces
and backed up by coalition air strikes.
In November 2017, ISIS
last Iraqi hold of Rawa fell. Earlier Coalition forces had already announced
that ISIS had been wiped out from Syria.