Although physically driven out of its caliphate in Syria, Islamic State (ISIS) is still spreading through covert operations, smaller attacks, and ongoing propaganda.
The latest quarterly report about ISIS to the UN Security Council indicated some fighters remain in Syria and are establishing cells there, noting that the terror group is “adapting, consolidating and creating conditions for eventual resurgence in its Iraqi and Syrian heartlands.”
The Institute for the Study of War anticipated ISIS may attempt to reestablish control of territories in Syria and Iraq. Last month, it predicted the “insurgency will grow because areas it has lost in Iraq and Syria are still neither stable nor secure.”
The UN report also noted ISIS continues to inspire terror attacks around the world such as the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka earlier this year. —Julia A. Seymour
Saudi Arabia last week passed a set of new laws that reduce restrictions on women, including allowing them to apply for citizenship and travel without a male guardian. The decree will also allow women to access official family documents and to register a marriage, divorce, or child’s birth. It remains unclear when the order will take effect.
The kingdom’s stringent rules against women drew renewed international attention in January when an 18-year-old Saudi woman recounted her attempt to flee from her family on social media. Saudi women still require a man’s consent to leave prison, marry, or leave a domestic abuse shelter.
“These new regulations are history in the making,” said Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador to the United States. “They call for the equal engagement of women and men in our society.” —O.O.
The Indian Parliament last week approved a bill criminalizing a Muslim practice that allows men to divorce their wives instantly. The bill requires the president’s signature to become law. The new legislation will impose a three-year prison sentence and a fine on violators.
The Indian Supreme Court ruled instant divorce unconstitutional in 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party party repeatedly tried to outlaw the practice, which allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives after pronouncing “talaq”—the Arabic word for divorce—three times. Men could also send the triple talaq through any medium, including text messages.
“This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society,” Modi tweeted. “India rejoices today!” —O.O.