(The Economist) When the jihadists of Islamic State (IS) seized Mosul and the Iraqi army fled last June, they became the world's most dangerous terrorist organisation. Sweeping out of Syria and north-western Iraq, they stormed southward, and came close to taking Baghdad. They murdered male prisoners in gory videos and enslaved female ones. Groups from Nigeria to Libya and Afghanistan pledged allegiance to them. Devotees attacked innocent civilians in Western cities; this week at least 19 people were killed in an assault on tourists in Tunisia (though the culprits are unknown). The IS threat has pushed together unlikely allies: in Iraq America provides the air power while Iran musters the ground forces.
The call of the caliphate has galvanised zealots. Yet, even as IS launches terrorist attacks, the good news is that cracks in the caliphate are becoming increasingly apparent. IS is losing ground, money and the consent of the people it rules.