The Islamic State is one of the contemporary most serious and novel threats to the transitioning (or not) current world order. The fact that war is part and parcel of the Islamic State and its Caliphate or Khilafah (خلافة) very existence is only one of the many challenges and novelties that most of the rest of the world must face.

The merging of different wars and issues is another mammoth challenge. For example, the wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq merged with the Islamic State war. When it became clear that a new war had started, one key question was to find out is there were different theatres of operations for a theatre of war itself limited to the Middle East and North African Region, or if we should revise the way we apply those strategic concepts, or if the very concept of the theatre of war, understood as an ideal-type of a defined quasi-independent system (Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, Book V, Ch 2) was also in needs of revision because of the Caliphate and its use of the globalised networked world into which we live. These questions are still crucial in May 2017, even though many seem to start believing – a bit early ? – that the war against the Islamic State has been won.

As far as the theatres of operations are concerned, who are those who define them? If we use the American definition of “theatre” – “The geographical area for which a commander of a geographic combatant command has been assigned responsibility. (JP 1-02. SOURCE: JP 1)” – then, again, who defines the geographical area as well as determines when responsibility for command should be attributed? If there is no US or coalition theater, does that mean that there is indeed no theater, for now? But what about the future? Are concepts exclusively defined in geographical terms sufficient? Or might they enhance the probability that we would remain on the defensive, granting the initiative to the enemy?

Those are only samples of the many questions that must asked before we can hope finding proper answers and strategies, not only militarily and across governments but also across societies and actors.

We explore here those concerns and work towards providing actionable strategic foresight and warning on the Islamic State war, building upon and looking for best ways to incorporate the more specific War in Syria, the War in Libya and other current and future issues (and related sections).

Daily monitoring of the war against the Islamic State across social media: The Caliphate War Sigils.

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Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for international relations, national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the war in Ukraine, international order and the rise of China, the overstepping of planetary boundaries and international relations, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.

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