The Islamic State is rapidly losing the territory and funding it needs to conserve operations, according to the latest IHS Markit report.
The Islamic State has lost control of over two thirds of its land since it began developing its caliphate in Syria and Iraq over three years ago. Gross revenue has also plunged 80 percent.
The Islamic State currently spans an estimated 36,200 square kilometers, approximately the same size as Maryland. It controlled 60,400 square kilometers as recently as January and more than 90,800 square kilometers at the beginning of 2015.
The most notable caliphate defeats have come in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have occupied Raqqa, the ISIS “capital” of Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose oil & gas have long funded ISIS operations, is moving east toward Deir al-Zour.
In Iraq, government officials combined with Iran-backed militias have commenced operations to terminate ISIS occupation in Mosul. Ludovico Carlino, a senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit, states that “Losing control of the heavily populated Iraqi city of Mosul, and oil rich areas in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Homs, has had a particularly significant impact on the group’s ability to generate revenue.”
Columb Strack, a senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit, confidently asserted that “The Islamic State’s remaining caliphate is likely to break up before the end of the year, reducing its governance project to a string of isolated urban areas that will eventually be retaken over the course of 2018.”