ISIS, what comes after Raqqa?

Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”

In wars, there are only two possibilities either victory or defeat. But the war against ISIS seems to have several possibilities, because the terrorist group does not care about the borders and controlled areas according to Al Adnani, the group’s former spokesperson who was killed by an airstrike in Al Bab, who had stated that losing Mosul and Raqqa does not mean the end of the group.
Nowadays everyone is talking about expelling ISIS out of Raqqa after Mosul which is very close of being totally liberated despite the group’s great ferocity. The fundamental question is what comes after Raqqa? Where would the group go?
There are four expected scenarios.

First Scenario: Withdrawal and return to the desert

This scenario is based on the fact that ISIS may repeat its experience in Iraq after the defeat in 2007 when they went back to Anbar desert before controlling over Raqqa and its countryside after the Syrian revolution and Mosul in summer 2014.
The group could hide in the desert without making any important moves but with keeping the dormant cells out of the group’s controlled areas waiting for the moment when they can rebuild their structure.
ISIS destination this time will be the Syrian Desert which the group already controls most of it except for some areas in eastern Qalamun. The Syrian Desert is linked with Al Anbar desert and it is next to most of the Syrian cities, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Der Ez zor, Daraa, Sweida and of course Raqqa. Peoples who believe in this scenario indicate that retaking Palmyra, setting a lot of tunnels and preparing lots of hospitals all indicate that this scenario is real.

The Second Scenario: the group’s extension to new countries and territories

Over the past few years, ISIS made several related groups in western and northern Africa, Libya, Yemen and parts of Sinai Egypt. In Libya, the group brought fighters from Iraq and Syria n order to unite the fighters, also the group worked of recruiting fighters from other terrorist groups, such as (Boko Haram) in order to distribute their thoughts.
People who believe in this scenario call it The Ink Spot, because each and every branch of this terrorist group with expands like a spot of ink over a paper. It is difficult for this scenario to happen in Yemen and western Africa but it is easier in countries like Algeria and Libya. The group’s next direction might be Jordan or Saudi Arabia through the borders with Iraq and Syria and the group’s last attack over Karak shows the group’s intention.

The Third Scenario: The Lone Wolves

It is a predicted scenario where this scenario does not need significant structural efforts but it needs security expertise which the group already has. The group’s work will be divided into two ways; first it will be located in the group’s areas, Iraq and Syria where the group will depend on suicidal attacks and wait until it is possible for the group to launch a large campaign over the near cities, the second way will be the increase in the group’s lone attacks in the European cities in every possible way, bombing or run over by vans in order to move the battle to the group’s enemies lands.

The fourth Scenario: Inactivity

Maybe the group will plant the largest number possible of inactive cells all over the world and waiting for the right time to launch a big attack but this strategy needs available leadership of the group works on taking advantage of any political or security situation that allows the group to launch an attack.

media activist from the city of Raqqa, student at the Faculty of Law at the University of the Euphrates. Director of the Media Office of Raqqa, founding member of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently", founding member of the documentary project of "Sound and Picture". I work in documenting violations committed by Assad's regime and ISIS group and extremist organizations inside the city of Raqqa, as I work in programming, design and visual media. I hold a certificate of coach in digital security, and a certificate of journalist coach, and a certificate in documenting violations against human rights, and a certificate in electronic advocacy. I underwent a training under the supervision of "Cyber-Arabs" in collaboration with the Institute for War and Peace "IWPR", about the management of electronic websites and leadership of advocacy campaigns, and a training of press photography under the supervision of the photojournalist "Peter Hove Olesen".