The conquest by the Islamic State of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus confirms the resilience of the jihadis and is an indicator of their current strategy. Islamic State has lost considerable ground in Iraq, with the recapture of Tikrit constituting its latest setback. IS has no real response to coalition air power, when it is combined with a competent and determined ground force. This was first demonstrated in the organization’s defeat at Kobani in January, and it is now becoming apparent in Iraq.
However, Islamic State is responding to this reality in a shrewd and calculated way.
Just prior to its eruption into Iraq last June, ISIS carried out a strategic retreat in north west Syria. In retrospect, this was clearly a preparation for the push into Iraq. In so doing, the movement demonstrated its ability to concentrate its forces and to plan beyond the merely…
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