The Fall of ISIS and the Day-After Question

A recent and detailed article by Nancy Youssef and Michael Weiss in the Daily Beast highlights how the setbacks being suffered by ISIS are bringing to the fore sooner rather than later some unanswered questions about who takes over territory that the group loses. The trend against ISIS continues and may even be accelerating, with disenchanted members of the group trying to go back home if they had not already been purged among mounting distrust within the group. The question of what replaces a defeated ISIS is going to be especially contentious and acute in parts of north central Syria. The lines of conflict there will be in large part ones of Kurds against Arabs, but—amid the complicated Syria civil war—not exclusively so.