The military campaign against the Islamic State has all but ended its control of territory in Syria and Iraq. Yet rather than disintegrate, ISIS will likely retreat into the dark Web and encrypted apps like Telegram, where its propaganda, brand and influence can remain potent. In fact, this may be part of a deliberate long-term strategy designed by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In seeking to establish a digital rather than a physical caliphate, ISIS will increasingly resemble Revolution Muslim, a New York City-based radical Islamist network active in 2007-11 and connected to jihadist plotting on four continents.
One of us, under the Muslim kunya of Younus Abdullah Muhammad, was a founder and leader of Revolution Muslim before pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy, communicating threats and Internet stalking and serving 3 ½ years in a federal prison. The other was director of intelligence analysis for the NYPD at the time and played a central role in investigations that led to Younus Abdullah Muhammad's (a k a Jesse Morton's) arrest.