Magazine November 25, 2019, Issue

Inside the Rise and Fall of ISIS’s Caliphate

From the cover of They Will Have to Die Now (W. W. Norton)
They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate, by James Verini (W. W. Norton, 304 pp., $27.95)

There was a time, not that long ago, when ISIS was the biggest news story in the world. Its blitzkrieg across northern Syria and much of Iraq, its grotesque public atrocities, and then the wave of ISIS-inspired terror attacks in the great cities of the West transfixed the globe. A nation weary of “endless wars” demanded action against ISIS, and an American administration that had campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Iraq found itself not just intervening once again but putting boots on the ground in both Iraq and Syria.

Then, ISIS disappeared. No, not from Iraq or Syria. But

This article appears as “How the Caliphate Crumbled” in the November 25, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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