The caliphate is gone, but Islamic State has a new plan | Nicolas Hénin

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made clear Isis is ramping up its international strategy. Algeria and Sudan will be decisive

Four years after his proclamation of the “caliphate”, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has again appeared in a propaganda video. This time, the man in the film is not the caliph preaching from his pulpit, but a hunted fugitive. Commentators were quick to recall how much the latest images evoked the last known pictures of the then al-Qaida second-in-command, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a few weeks before his death, sitting on cushions on the floor in a windowless room with pale neon lights, a weapon at hand. This new video is a sober production – even its soundtrack, with its minimalist singing backdrop, lacks bombast.

Baghdadi lives in a tiny security bubble full of supporters whose loyalty he can't be sure of

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