Adapting for Survival

Islamic State’s Shifting Strategies




This article discusses the strategic shifts that the Islamic State (IS) has implemented in order to survive, especially in what regards its propaganda and military tactics. We argue that, for a long time now and in both domains, the IS and its predecessors have been flexible and resilient enough to adapt to new realities on the ground being able to shape and reshape its strategy and tactics towards its enemies’ capabilities and policies. In terms of propaganda, despite a decrease of its online presence, the IS has struggled to adapt some of its main narratives to the new reality brought about by the beginning of the international coalition attacks. However, evidence seems to suggest that the group will likely be able to maintain its online relevance yet for some time. Regarding its military tactics in Syria and Iraq, history and current evidence points to a return to its insurgent roots. This seems to be corroborated by the group’s current increasing resort to terrorism and guerrilla tactics. Lastly, we argue that it is still premature to either claim the rebirth of the IS or to declare its demise.


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Biografia do Autor

Jorge Mascarenhas Lasmar, PUC Minas

Professor Permanente do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Relações Internacionais da PUC Minas

Guilherme Damasceno Fonseca, Polícia Federal

Mestre em Relações Internacionais pela PUC Minas e especialista em Políticas e Estratégias de Defesa, bem como Repressão ao Crime Transnacional, ambos pela National Defense University.


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Como Citar

Lasmar, J. M., & Fonseca, G. D. (2019). Adapting for Survival: Islamic State’s Shifting Strategies. Carta Internacional, 14(1), 103–126.