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After Islamic State

Collapse may come swiftly—but will that leave the world any safer?

By Jason Burke   May 2017

Refugees flee IS in Iraq—as the war goes on, al-Qaeda is preparing to return ©Afton Bladet/IBL/Rex/Shutterstock

Some time within the coming weeks, Iraqi forces will reach the great mosque of al-Nuri, in Mosul. It was from the pulpit in this small, 900-year-old complex that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State (IS), declared the foundation of a new caliphate with himself as caliph in 2014. The mosque was not chosen at random. Nur ad-Din Zangi, the man who ordered its construction, and after whom it was named, fought…

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