progress. But that’s because progress in conventional warfare is the easiest to measure.
Daily reports of small but steady advances around the edges of IS-held Mosul, Iraq portray a dangerous, murderous enemy, but one whose empire is collapsing. Less frequent reports indicate a collection of various forces, Syrian Arab, Syrian Kurdish, and perhaps Turkish military units are getting ever closer to Raqqa, the Syrian capitol of the Islamic State.
Some experts say a few months, other says a few years will suffice to expel IS from Mosul, Raqqa and the surrounding parts of Iraq and Syria.
What few experts claim to know are the answers to two essential questions – who will govern the reconquered territories…and what will happen next with the Islamic State…or the Islamic state idea?
Keep those questions in mind as we shift westward to the continent of Africa where IS, or its affiliates, have set off a series of alarms.
In Nigeria, IS-affiliate Boko Haram continues to torment the government and its National Army, while, moving north, new terrorist attacks have hit Niger, and especially near its border with Mali, where Islamist fighters are extending a low-level, but draining civil war.
Niger and Chad are both right across the border from Libya and both have been suffering from infections of weapons and fighters from Libya. There are reports of increased traffic in men and materiel heading south, as US air strikes and Libyan ground forces have all but expelled the Islamic State fighters from their biggest Libyan base, the coastal city of Sirte.
This battle has been long and bloody, but it could be close to its end…close enough that people thinking about the future of Libya are asking those 2 questions I mentioned earlier: who will take charge of the “liberated” city of Sirte, and what will happen to the Islamic State fighters who manage to escape from there?
Mustafa Fetouri is an award-winning journalist and financial analyst from Libya. He has been covering the conflicts in his home country, both from inside Libya and utilizing a wide network of sources there. His coverage is published by the online news-magazine al-Monitor.