An Expanding Islamic State

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As goes its motto, The Islamic State is remaining and expanding. Even as the group faces growing military pressure in its core territories in Iraq and Syria, an increasing number of countries are facing the threat of Islamic State-affiliated groups within their own borders. Ultimately, this expansion is necessary to fulfilling the Islamic State’s fundamental goal: the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that extends across all Muslim lands—both past and present. Other than being an ideological imperative, expansion also serves various strategic purposes for both the Islamic State’s core and its various affiliates. Without expansion, the Islamic State ceases to exist.

The world has witnessed the spread of al Qaeda affiliates for years, and affiliates of the Islamic State represent a similar kind of threat. The global reach of the Islamic State’s message, however, means that its affiliates have spread much faster and have encouraged extreme levels of indiscriminate violence along the way.

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