The Islamic State took the world by surprise in 2014 when it conquered much of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate there. Today, the so-called caliphate is no more. Nevertheless, the Islamic State has branches and affiliates in many countries, a large underground presence in Iraq and Syria, and numerous sympathizers around the world. The future of the group, and of the broader movement it claims to champion, are uncertain, and U.S. policy must ensure that it continues to retreat.
On April 30, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion on this topic. Nathan Sales, ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State, offered a keynote address after which Brookings Senior Fellow Daniel Byman moderated a discussion with Ambassador Sales. Following the conversation, the speakers took questions from the audience.