ISIS: What Comes Next?

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In June 2014, the terrorist group known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) grabbed news headlines around the globe by capturing large swaths of northern Iraq.

ISIS, which still controls significant parts of both Iraq and Syria, has since slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians in both countries. Recent U.S. and allied air strikes against the group have so far helped Iraqi troops and local resistance forces recapture certain key facilities and transportation hubs – and occasionally rescue or sustain ISIS-besieged population centers and refugees. But a long-term strategy for rolling back ISIS’s territorial gains, eliminating its capacity to terrorize with violence, and preventing the further spread of its radical ideology appears – unfortunately – to remain elusive.

Three nationally-known analysts of Islamic radicalism have a penetrating conversation about the still-unfolding turmoil in Iraq and Syria, the broader threat posed by the rise and persistence of ISIS, its aim to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East, and the means by which the United States and the West might best respond to the challenge of this uncommonly well-financed, well-organized, well-equipped and aggressive terror organization.

Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Husain Haqqani is the former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States and author of the critically acclaimed best-seller Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding. Hudson Senior Fellow Nina Shea, who currently directs the Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, has been a prominent international human-rights lawyer for more than 30 years and is the co-author, most recently, of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians. Jeffrey Goldberg, winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting, is a widely respected commentator on the Middle East who serves as national correspondent for The Atlantic and as a regular columnist for Bloomberg View.