Tom Smith

Stop Portraying Islamic State as a Band of Exotic Globetrotters

The Conversation


The so-called Islamic State (IS) has been dealt a severe blow to its "center" with the liberation of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, the group's de facto capital. Yet the media is awash with various experts warning us of what's next for IS and their alleged exotic outposts. Much of this is nothing more than opportunistic scaremongering, built on an old and tired misunderstanding of militant Islamic terrorism. As implied by its full name, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or of Iraq and the Levant) was born in a specific place and time. In this respect, it is far from unique; as long as the Syrian conflict continues, jihadist groups will emerge and congregate. And at this point, IS's fantastical dream of re-imagining the caliphate is no more than hyperbole, a device to inflate its brand internationally and give it the impression of a cosmopolitan brotherhood.