March 23 marked two years since the collapse of the Islamic State's caliphate, which for five years represented the pinnacle of jihadi extremism in the 21st century. Yet ISIS is estimated to have at least 10,000 fighters still capable of marauding attacks, assassinations, and bombings in Iraq and Syria. More than a dozen franchises—stretching from West Africa to East Asia—also represent a threat to local, regional, and international security as ISIS remains a global engine for radicalization.
On March 22, USIP and the Wilson Center hosted a discussion with four leading experts that explored the challenges of ISIS today: What are its future prospects, given that many of the political and economic flashpoints that spawned ISIS have still not been addressed? How has it adapted to the loss of its state, and might it hold or govern territory again? And now that it is cut off from traditional social media and relegated to the dark web, how is ISIS recruiting followers—and how successfully? Are there any signs that either ISIS, or jihadism generally, is being rejected?
James F. Jeffrey
Chair, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Former Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS
Chairman and CEO, The Soufan Group
USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Fellow; Author and Columnist for The New Yorker
Anne Barnard, moderator
Journalist, The New York Times