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Israel anticipates Raqqa’s fall

For Israel, the regional power balance after the end of the Islamic State could actually mean a Hezbollah reinforced by the Lebanese army, with Iran present on the Golan Heights front.
Israeli soldiers from the Home Front Command Unit hold their weapons as they take part in an urban warfare drill inside a mock village at Tze'elim army base in Israel's Negev Desert June 11, 2017. Picture taken June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RTX3A2UY

Comments from senior Iraqi officials after the conquest of Mosul correspond with the current assessment by Western intelligence agencies that the collapse of the Islamic State's caliphate is inevitable. While those same intelligence sources claim that the fall of Raqqa will take time, it will happen in the end. What this means is that the surviving combatants in Islamic State (IS) territory will attempt to find refuge in more distant and remote regions so that they can continue to export their global jihad, mainly against Western targets in the United States and Europe.

Given the current situation, the various players in the Middle East are preparing for the "day after" IS, when it no longer has a physical presence in the region. That could happen at any time in the next year or two. In other words, it is right around the corner.

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