The Islamic State in Syria After the U.S. Withdrawal
- Aaron Y. Zelin
- Content Type
- Policy Brief
- The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
- Recent U.S. decisions have seemingly ignored the degree to which the group is continuing its insurgent attacks
and reorganizing its supporters inside increasingly vulnerable detention facilities.
In contrast to President Trump’s statements over the past half-year, the Islamic State has yet to be defeated
outright. True, the group is nowhere near as capable as it was in 2015, but it is steadily rebuilding its capacities
and attempting to break thousands of its supporters out of detainment. The vacuum created by the U.S.
withdrawal and Turkish invasion will create more space for those efforts, while compounding the original problem
of states being unwilling to deal with their citizens who joined IS and remain in Syria. To avoid becoming known as
the administration that allowed IS to reemerge and, perhaps, conduct mass-casualty attacks in Europe or
elsewhere, President Trump and his cabinet should take urgent action to salvage and mobilize their surviving ties
with Washington’s longtime partner against IS, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
- Foreign Policy, Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Islamic State
- Political Geography
- Iraq, Middle East, Syria, United States of America