Tuesday was a landmark day in the war against the Islamic State, as both the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria and its Philippine stronghold of Marawi were liberated.
Analysts caution that ISIS has not been destroyed, but with these twin defeats, it has been broken down from a terror state back into a terrorist organization.
The value of ISIS’ former status as a terror state was enormous. Islamic State recruiting pitches were filled with boasts about its prowess as a conqueror of territory, from easily routing the Iraqi military at Mosul to carving a bloody swath across Syria. The Islamic State declared a “caliphate,” or Islamic nation. Its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the “caliph.” Other terrorist gangs swore vows of fealty to Baghdadi on that basis. His continued survival is a matter of debate, but if he no longer holds a caliphate, he can hardly claim to be a conquering caliph anymore.
As Al Aan reporter Jenan Moussa pointed out, the Islamic State dreamed of invading Rome at the height of its power.