BRUSSELS — Will the collapse of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and the ending of the terror group’s caliphate make much difference when it comes to the recruitment and radicalization of Europeans or reducing “lone wolf” attacks?
With U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces close to finishing off IS in Raqqa, the terror group’s de facto capital in Syria, the question is becoming more pertinent. But French and Belgian officials don’t believe the killings will stop in Europe, at least not in the foreseeable future.
Analysts say the caliphate was useful in the marketing of IS and attracting foreign recruits, as well as allowing the group to differentiate itself from rival al-Qaida, which opposed the setting up of an Islamic state and ridiculed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s self-appointment as caliph. Now one of the only ways for the terror group to remain relevant and to try to continue to outshine its jihadist competitor al-Qaida is to strike the West as frequently as it can, experts say.