A Prison Attack and the Death of its Leader: Weighing Up the Islamic State’s Trajectory in Syria

Abstract: On January 20, 2022, the Islamic State launched a complex assault on Hasakah’s Ghwayran prison, a place in which thousands of its fighters had been held since the ‘defeat’ of its territorial caliphate in March 2019. The attack was the first time that the group had directly targeted a major detention facility in Syria since losing its last significant territorial toehold in Syria, notwithstanding the consistent calls for prison breaks that have been uttered by its leaders during the last

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A “New” Islamic Emirate? The Taliban’s Outreach Strategy in the Aftermath of Kabul

As the Taliban’s forces swept across Afghanistan in July and August, their triumphalist—and fundamentally revolutionary—discourse became exponentially more pronounced. The moment it seized Kabul, however, the Taliban had to reorder its communications priorities. As Afghanistan’s new de facto government, it needed to expand on what its outreach strategists had been doing to date, i.e., setting out political aspirations, emphasizing military capabilities, and attacking the legitimacy of adversaries. Now, it had to take on a more complex strategic communications task: demonstrating

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