- Daesh is a coalition of many groups, some of which are not at all Islamist
- Former Iraqi Army officers are doing most of the strategic planning
- Daesh uses terrorism as a tactic to create fear and chaos as it takes hold of cities
- Because it can move back into the desert to regroup, Daesh is likely to continue to create instability in Iraq and Syria in the long term
The popular perception of Daesh – also known as Islamic State or IS – as a terrorist organization is as inaccurate as it is dangerous. Daesh is essentially a military force that uses the desert to its advantage, employing terrorist operations where useful. The misconception is dangerous because it leads decision makers to implement bad policy and distracts from the cool-headed analysis needed to defeat the force.