In the last decade, significant wins against ISIS and other extremist groups were made in an effort to reduce their power across the globe. With Raqqa’s liberation from ISIS’ control in October of 2017, the group now holds no physical territory in the Middle East, making it more difficult for the group to operate in some ways. Yet, even without any physical territory, ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks in 25 countries, killing thousands since losing Raqqa. This is largely due to the fact that ISIS and other extremist groups have developed new ways to carry out acts of terrorism by becoming borderless, often infiltrating communities from the inside. Governments and foreign policy experts have struggled to respond effectively to this new decentralized tactic.
How has losing its territory changed ISIS’ strategy and how powerful is it now? How do terrorist groups recruit westerners and spread their influence? What do communities need to do to combat violent extremism? How can governments better address these issues through foreign and domestic policies?
On May 13, McCain Institute Senior Director for Counterterrorism and National Security Nick Rasmussen joined Hoover Institute Visiting Fellow Markos Kounalakis at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, Calif. to discuss the answers to these questions and more.