The Slatest

ISIS, Losing its Territory, Hastily Rewrites the Definition of “Caliphate”

An Iraqi tank preparing for a military parade in Baghdad on July 12.

Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images

Remember ISIS’ whole thing about creating a globally dominant caliphate that would bring about the apocalypse? Well, the group is rapidly losing territory to Russian- and NATO-backed Iraqi and Syrian forces. And it’s starting to reconsider whether the whole caliphate thing, if you think about it, really requires having any territory at all. From the Washington Post:

“While we see our core structure in Iraq and Syria under attack, we have been able to expand and have shifted some of our command, media and wealth structure to different countries,” a longtime Islamic State operative, speaking through an Internet-based audio service, said in an interview.

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Classic. It’ll be a virtual e-caliphate!

An editorial in one of the group’s publications made a similar point:

“The crusaders and their apostate clients are under the illusion that . . . they will be able to eliminate all of the Islamic State’s provinces at once, such that it will be completely wiped out and no trace of it will be left,” the article states. In reality, the group’s foes “will not be able to eliminate it by destroying one of its cities or besieging another of them, or by killing a soldier, an emir or an imam,” it says.

The bad news, of course, is that ISIS will still likely be able to carry out deadly terror attacks in the Middle East and elsewhere even if it’s forced underground. While there might be some humor involved in watching the group awkwardly re-spin its grandiose prophecies, it’s humor of a very bitter kind.

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