News analysis

ISIS emerging stronger as an idea

Militant group may have been defeated on the battlefield but its ideology remains alive

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A 54-minute message purported to be crafted by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) - though now without a genuine caliphate - was released last Wednesday in a bid to stimulate an outfit that has been debilitated through sustained military action.

The message - headlined "Give Glad Tidings To The Patient" - is supposedly the first by Baghdadi since last September, following speculation that he was killed in enemy action. The tone and context seemed to illustrate that the ISIS chief was alive and keen to reassert his leadership, although voice confirmation reports are yet to be made.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2018, with the headline ISIS emerging stronger as an idea. Subscribe