By Buck Sexton
ISIS’s reign of terror is rapidly coming to an end. Within a matter of days, the jihadist menace that shocked the world for years with its pathological sadism will lose its final strongholds within the Syrian city of Raqqa. It has taken 5 months of bloody struggle but the de facto capital of the Islamic State will soon be entirely in the hands of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Across the border in Iraq, the process of rebuilding the devastated city of Mosul is underway after its liberation from the so-called caliphate in July. There are still areas of ISIS control in both Iraq and Syria, but the jihadists have lost over 60 percent of the territory they once held. Their sources of funding are drying up, hostile forces surround them, and ISIS can no longer count on tens of thousands of recruits to flood into Syria to replenish their ranks.
If the Islamic State’s fanatics were running an actual state instead of a glorified death cult, they would be negotiating terms for surrender and laying down their arms already.
The U.S. and its allies have effectively beaten the Islamic State. While the process has been slow and riddled with setbacks and restarts, this is a substantial accomplishment. In 2014, ISIS seized Mosul in a blitzkrieg and was threatening to march on the Kurdish city of Erbil.