With the defeat of the "Islamic State" - an extremely unusual organization in its current form (banned in Russia), its existence will not cease. Regional and global players will help pave the new bloody path.
The radical structure is constantly adapting to changing military-political and strategic conditions and skillfully confronts enemies with disproportionately large resources. For more than three years, even an absolute advantage did not give the opponents of the IG a chance to achieve a military victory. Of course, this is largely due to the fact that the enemies found out the relationship between themselves, and the radicals were used solely as a cover, when officials pattered the ritual phrases about the need for a merciless fight against world evil. In reality, everything was much more prosaic. Each of the parties understood that it was extremely difficult to seriously deal with such a skillful and ruthless enemy not only because the top of the IG perfectly controlled the available opportunities, but also because of the neighbors, who would certainly take advantage of the weakening of the competitor. The example of M. Barzani, who decided to organize a referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan precisely when a significant part of the Baghdad forces was exterminated during the capture of Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul, is quite indicative. The Iraqis suffered especially large losses, storming Mosul, where the backbone of the Golden Division was beaten out and most of the armored vehicles were destroyed, the defect of which the Iraqis plan to fill primarily with supplies from the Russian Federation, which was negotiated in Moscow by Vice President N. al-Maliki .
In the war of all against all chances, those who skillfully play on the contradictions of enemies, who often have claims against each other even more than to IS, have more chances. That is what allowed the radicals to hold on for so long.
Storm from the underground
Let's start with the fact that after the war the start of 90's, the Iraqi authorities and special services understood the inevitability of its continuation, it was only when and under what circumstances it would begin. After “Storm in the Desert”, Baghdad was convinced of the technological superiority of the West, and the result of the upcoming battle was predictable. The situation was complicated by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which could support the Baathists. Consequently, no options other than how to rely on their strength, there was no choice. Therefore, already then began the preparation of warehouses with the necessary (weapons, ammunition and other) for an irregular war in conditions of probable occupation by a more technologically advanced adversary. In a sense, the prototype of the IG was laid at that time. From the US invasion of Iraq, under the pretext of having the weapons of mass destruction for the regime of Saddam Hussein (tentatively until 2011 of the year), during the occupation and parallel terror of the new authorities, the jihadists went underground. Along with them, the former members of the once ruling party, because of the “debaasization” policy launched by the then occupying administration P. Bremer, turned out to be illegal as well. As a result, many military and security services of the times of Hussein were at the very social bottom. As a consequence, the first phase of the merging of the Ba'athist underground and people from terrorist organizations such as Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and its successor, Al-Qaida in Iraq, began. As a result, the former Iraqi officers, using military knowledge gained in the USSR, combat experience and supplies prepared before the American invasion, managed to integrate into the jihadist structures and prepare for the second phase. Remember: from 2006 until the beginning of 2003's, the organizations that subsequently formed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were a classic network terrorist structure and acted according to their abilities. At that time, ISIS needed to increase its main resource - human. And in the second half of the 2000s, igilovtsy committed large-scale terrorist attacks against Shiites, forcing the co-religionists in power to arrange a mass terror of the Sunni population, virtually forcing it to leave for radical jihadist structures. The issue of recruiting the ranks was decided by a simple two-way.
The situation began to change dramatically with the onset of the “Arab Spring”. It is important to note that the collapse of not only the regimes, but also the states created unique conditions that were never observed. Began a return to tribal relations with local characteristics. In the newest stories This is an unprecedented situation, since the elimination of the state superstructure in Libya, partly in Syria and Iraq led to the liberation of land from the old authorities. A largely uncontrolled territory was formed, where power was picked up by various terrorist organizations that were previously in the lower ranks of the social hierarchy and in an underground position. In 2011 – 2013, at that time, ISIS managed to settle in eastern Syria (particularly in Raqqa), since Damascus’s influence in the region was rapidly weakening. Thus began the second phase of the existence of ISIS - quasi-state and hierarchical-network.
The presence of its territory is one of the key features: the existence of a state is possible without a full-fledged army or ideology, but there is no land without it. In Syria and Iraq, in the first half of the twenty-first century, the situation was unprecedented: radical elements were able to control vast areas and bring orders there. Yes, there is an example of the Taliban movement, but before 2001, it already had its own state, but jihadists in the Middle East did not. The main thing is that not every structure is capable of creating on the territory something resembling a state entity. The experience of administration, development strategy, etc. is needed. And it turned out that the only structure on the Syrian-Iraqi territory, not connected with the authorities and possessing experience, knowledge, resources, turned out to be ISIL. This was made possible by the unusual integration of ex-Baathists and jihadists over eight years. The radicals took over the experience of Saddam’s professionals, and the managers of the fallen regime found a new ideology, because the former ideas after the collapse of the USSR and the invasion of Iraq by the Americans lost relevance. A new world view was required, and under the circumstances, the only sensible alternative was Sunni Islam in its radical, Wahhabi interpretation. It was this idea that igilovtsy began to use to increase the resource base and increase the influx of recruits. Of course, all this could be obtained only by increasing the living space, capturing new lands. Having seriously prepared themselves, in the summer of 2014, the igilovtsy of the year carried out a well-known raid on Mosul and forces ten times inferior to the enemy, managed to knock out the Iraqi army in disgrace, which after the training of American instructors carried only police functions but was unable to give a serious fight.
Since then, the LIH entered the active stage of building a state. It is characterized by the creation of a management hierarchy critical for the long-term control of occupied territories. Therefore, along with the military-police structures, the igilovtsy formed the administrative institutions of the nascent caliphate. It established a theocratic regime that denies secularism and the separation of powers. The controlled lands were divided into administrative-territorial units - vilayets. There were executive authorities - sofas, in fact, analogues of ministries.
At the end of June 2014, ISIS rebranded, leaving only the Islamic State and thereby showing that they were promoting not a national project following the example of the Taliban, but the world’s caliphate. There were rational and pragmatic reasons behind the decision. In the war with all neighbors and other terrorist organizations, the IG does not and will not have the opportunity to develop occupied territories. Only their merciless exploitation and accumulation of resources with subsequent expansion. An extensive path of development is the only one possible. Any factory created by jihadists, with the help of which they would be able to move from primitive management to a higher level economy, would be destroyed aviation or special forces of opponents. The development of a different kind, when the initial resources are small, is possible only with stability and relatively peacetime. IG arose on the ruins of a country that survived the occupation and total terror, which was largely destroyed to the ground. Therefore, large-scale mobilization is ruled out there. It remains only to exploit the occupied land, redistribute resources and again engage in battle. Such a mechanism cannot be stopped, and the IS is forced to continuously fight. If you look at the structure of this quasi-state, you can see that among the sofas there is not a single analogue of the Ministry of Economic Development or the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Such departments are completely unnecessary in a permanent war and an appropriating economy. However, for effective expansion, an ideology was needed that was not tied to one region - Iraq and the Levant, as a result of which it became global. The idea of building a world caliphate attracted the attention of potential recruits from around the world. The bet that after creating an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq, the jihadists will then spread the caliphate in the countries of origin, has worked without fail.
Thus, in the course of social evolution, IS managers managed to combine two forms of management - network and hierarchical, which allowed the proxy state to exist for such a long time and even expand.
The interdependence of these principles, multiplied by the high degree of ideologization of representatives of the IG, as well as the high threshold of acceptable damage (“we love death as you love life”) made the organization extremely tenacious. It is undoubtedly something more and more complicated than just a terrorist structure, as laid down in Russian legislation. In general, such a simplification, when one term describes various phenomena, is harmful, misleading, and ordinary citizens, and government agencies. Summing up, I will say that in its struggle, the IS was able to competently absorb both forms of management organization, thereby increasing its robustness - the insensitivity of the system to various deviations to extremely high values.
Leave, but return
However, since the fall of 2016, the range of IG began to decline. The Iraqi security forces and popular mobilization, at the cost of enormous losses, managed to knock out the bulk of the militants from key cities. In Syria, the Kurds and the CAA with the help of the Russian HVAC and pro-Iranian detachments also squeeze IS out of the cities and head to its last major stronghold, Deir ez-Zor.
There is no doubt that the leadership of the IG is fully aware that strategically this war cannot be won - the possibilities of the parties are too incomparable. However, we are talking only about the defeat of the IG as a quasi-state and hybrid (hierarchical and network) structure. As soon as and if the radicals are ousted from all large populated areas, they will immediately switch to a network existence. In this case, the organizational IS will look like the classic terrorist organizations with an umbrella structure and enter the third phase of their survival. In a sense, this will no longer be a military issue for local authorities, but will remain a security threat. But there is another important point. Over the course of several years of clandestine activity, and during the creation of a quasi-state structure, supporters of the Islamic State gained vast experience, knowledge, and accumulated resources, including financial resources. And they use this potential in other regions where the radicals are going to move after the defeat of the Syrian-Iraqi mother core. There are many places, it is enough to recall the vilayets outside of Iraq and the Levant - Nejd, Al-Hejaz (KSA), Sinai (ARE), Al-Barqa, Tarabulus, Fizan (Libya), Al-Jazair (Algeria), Garb Ifrikia (Nigeria), Al-Alba Al-Akhdur, Aden Abyad, Shabwa, Hadramaut, Al-Baida, Sana'a (Yemen), Khorasan (Afghanistan), Al-Kavkaz (RF). We also add Southeast Asia. In these regions will have to solve the tasks that they have already solved in Syria and Iraq. In particular, to increase the resource base - to attract people and finance. This will require controlling cash flows, most of them of a criminal nature: drug trafficking, trafficking in arms, people and energy resources. Here Afghanistan is especially valuable with opiate plantations, oil-bearing Libya, Indonesia, where more than 200 millions of Muslims live, Egypt and Yemen because of their proximity to strategic sea arteries ... These regions are considered, and in some cases already are used by the IG as their territory rebirth.
Thus, in Syria and Iraq, we observed an IS development pattern implemented in accordance with the logic of circumstances. If the IG opposes several coalitions at once, it passes to the network form of existence - a primitive, but more stable in the conditions of underground, irregular struggle. As soon as the situation improves, with the availability of relevant specialists, the IG version 2.0 is realizable. However, in those provinces where there are no professionals, such as Baathists were in Iraq, it is impossible to build a new quasi-state.
To study the IG is extremely useful. This is a very serious enemy, if only because of the globality of ideology. One of the IG vilayets is located in the North Caucasus, a few - in the countries adjacent to Russia. We have a significant number of Sunni Muslims, among whom the ideas of the IG will be all the more contagious the stronger the socioeconomic and political crises, when the radicalization of the population of a certain religious group becomes more likely.
But not only so you should carefully study the IG. His experience of survival and the ability to withstand orders of magnitude superior opponents should be carefully disassembled and, if necessary, in which the author has no doubts, used to effectively counteract irregular, decentralized groups, whose subversive activities can be activated in the regions of Russia. Finally, it is important to remember that it is in our strategic interest to find non-military solutions to difficult situations. The more players involved in an armed conflict (and not only in the Middle East), the more the infrastructure necessary for the survival of the population is destroyed and, consequently, the more conditions are created for people to become terrorist organizations, which infinitely spins the flywheel of bloodshed. But this is a separate issue.