Islamic State Leader Killed in U.S. Raid – Where Does This Leave the Terrorist Group?

killings. They argue that they can result in decentralization of the group and increase indiscriminate violence by targeted groups.

The tactic is also generally considered to be less effective against groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida that have well-managed leadership structures and succession protocols.

The Islamic State group has survived multiple deaths within its leadership precisely because of its bureaucratic approach to succession, and because it still enjoys pockets of strong local support.

In the short term, the death of al-Qurayshi may cause the Islamic State group to lie low. But this will not indicate the demise of the organization. The loss of al-Qurayshi could also trigger retaliation attacks as a signal of resolve among members and to stay relevant in the global jihadist landscape.

4. How Much of a Global and Regional Threat Is Islamic State Group?
Back in early 2019, the U.S. and allied forces successfully beat back the Islamic State group from its height in 2014-16, when it controlled larges parts of Iraq and Syria.

The group has recently shifted attention to prominent affiliates, like those in sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan.

This shift highlights how the Islamic State has maintained its relevance: If it experiences decline in its strongholds of Iraq and Syria, affiliates elsewhere are able to keep the vision of the global caliphate alive.

The recent terrorist attacks in Syria and Iraq suggest that the Islamic State’s resurgence strategy is much further along than many observers may have expected.

Elsewhere, affiliates are engaged in intense insurgencies against local governments and rival militant groups. This includes persistent threats from IS-West Africa Province in the Lake Chad region, and IS-Central Africa Province in the Congo and Mozambique. Indeed, Africa is poised to be a key Islamic State battleground going forward.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, ISIS-K has pursued a relatively successful strategy to rally after years of losses at the hands of the U.S.-led coalition, challenging the new Taliban government and competing for control of provinces in the country’s northeast.

The death of al-Qurayshi is unlikely to affect the operations of Islamic State group’s affiliates in any meaningful way. Many have strategies that draw heavily on local resources and alliances with other groups. While the latest U.S. raid may result in temporary uncertainty for the broader movement, history suggests the Islamic State movement will be able to push forward with regional attacks and reestablish the support of affiliates around the world.

Haroro J. Ingram is Senior Research Fellow at the Program on Extremism, George Washington University. Amira Jadoon is Assistant Professor at the Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy West Point. Andrew Mines is Research Fellow at the Program on Extremism, George Washington University. This article is published courtesy of The Conversation.