The “final defeat” of the Islamic State’s Caliphate?

With closer-to-home and sensational news dominating headlines in the U.S., it’s easy to miss the “final defeat” of the Islamic States’s “self-declared Caliphate”:

  • U.S.-backed forces declared the final defeat of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate Saturday, bringing to an end the brutal experiment in state building that had lured foot soldiers from around the world and inflicted unimaginable suffering on those caught up in the militants’ rampage through Iraq and Syria.

While there’s still an insurgency that’s expected to stick around for some time, this reversal of fortune for a movement that once controlled territory the size of Britain “and wielded an army of as many as 100,000 men” is pretty extraordinary.
Pull quotes:

  • “If you had told me the Islamic State would end, after all this time and all these killings, I would never have believed you. Maybe I still don’t,” said Mahdiya, 28, a member of Iraq’s Yazidi minority who lived nearly five years as a slave.
  • The war had cost the United States $28.5 billion as of December, according to the Pentagon, and a total of 16 U.S. soldiers were killed in action, among 72 who died while serving with Operation Inherent Resolve, as the campaign was called.

If you’ve not yet had the chance, I highly recommend The New York Times’ podcast series called Caliphate, hosted by and based on the reporting of Rukmini Callimachi.

This post originally appeared in what had originally been called The Eric Berlin E-mail Newsletter. To get a weekly blast of pop culture, digital media, and politics that helps make sense of an increasingly frazzled world, sign on up for The Berlin Files here.

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