THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 26 August 2020 Down, but not out: On Islamic State (The Hindu)

Down, but not out: On Islamic State (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3: Security
Prelims level: Islamic State
Mains level: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security


  • The U.N. counterterrorism chief’s statement to the Security Council on the continuing presence of Islamic State (IS) terrorists in West Asia, Africa and elsewhere should be seen as a serious warning by the countries in these regions. 
  • Two years after the Sunni jihadist group was declared defeated, more than 10,000 IS fighters remain active in Iraq and Syria. 
  • IS-driven terror attacks are on the rise. 


  • A proto-state, also known as a quasi-state, is a political entity that does not represent a fully institutionalized or autonomous sovereign state. The precise definition of proto-state in political literature fluctuates depending on the context in which it is used.

Operating from remote areas:

  • The IS had established a proto-state in 2014 but it was gradually destroyed by multilateral war efforts that lasted four years.
  • The terror outfit has a “province” in West Africa with nearly 3,000 fighters, according to the UN. 
  • In war-torn Afghanistan, it continues to stage attacks, targeting ethnic and religious minorities. 
  • The IS may no longer control any big city, but its rise from a breakaway faction of al-Qaeda in Iraq to one of the world’s most potent terrorist groups should be a lesson for all stakeholders. 
  • Ever since they lost territories, IS fighters withdrew from the front lines and started operating in cells in the deserts, mountains and hinterlands of conflict-ridden countries.


  • Iraq and Syria are particularly vulnerableto the IS’s resurgenceas these countries are yet to be fully stabilised after the wars. 
  • In Syria, the Bashar al-Assad government has practically won the civil war. But Syria is now a divided country. 
  • While the government controls most of the territories, a coalition of jihadists and rebels is running the Idlib province. 
  • In the northeast, the Kurdish rebels have declared autonomy. 
  • On the Syrian-Turkish border, Turkey, backed by pro-Turkish rebels, has carved out a buffer and has been in permanent conflict with the Kurds. 
  • Though there is an uneasy quiet in Syria, the situation is inflammable.
  • Iraq, after months of protests and instability, has finally got a government. But Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is torn between the U.S. and Iran. 
  • Pro-Iran Shia militias continue to target U.S. troops inside Iraq, which could turn the country into a battlefield between Washington and Tehran. 
  • The story is not very different in Africa. Libya has two governments, which were fighting each other till last week’s ceasefire. 
  • The Libyan conflict has spilled overinto Mali and Burkina Faso, where jihadists have established a solid presence. 
  • The IS has its roots in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It started growing by exploiting the civil war in Syria. 
  • The regional governments as well as their international backers (and rivals) should be mindful of this fact. 


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

1. The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for leasing out three airports namely Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports of Airports Authority of India (AAI) through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
2. The PPP airports in India are consistently ranked among the top 5 in their respective categories by the Airports Council International (ACI) in terms of Airport Service Quality (ASQ).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Re-emergence of Islamic State is Posing A Great Challenge. Comment.