ISIS just delivered its 'weakest message' ever

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Iraqi Forces Launch Offensive on ISIS Stronghold

A senior ISIS leader released a new audio message last weekend in the latest sign that the terrorist group is shifting its strategy, as it has been beaten back in the Middle East.

SEE ALSO: ISIS is increasingly relying on this brutal tactic as it loses territory in the Middle East

Abu Mohammad al-Adnani — who serves as the main spokesman for the terrorist group aka the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh — attempted to justify ISIS's recent losses and insisted that the group's fight against the West is far from over.

"Indeed, we do not wage jihad to defend a land, nor to liberate it, or to control it," Adnani said in the message.

He continued:

We do not fight for authority or transient, shabby positions, nor for the rubble of a lowly, vanishing world. ... If we were able to avert a single fighter from fighting us, we would do so, saving ourselves the trouble. However, our Quran requires us to fight the entire world, without exception.

This is a far cry from ISIS's prior propaganda works, which pushed a message of "remaining and expanding," implying that ISIS was on a path to world domination. Since its stunning rise to power, during which the group seized territory across Iraq and Syria and declared a "caliphate" ruled by strict Islamic law, the group has suffered a series of battlefield losses.

RELATED: Two groups in Iraq unite against ISIS:

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ISIS just delivered its 'weakest message' ever
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), sit with an Arab tribal fighter (L) in a house in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A female member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), carries a sniper and an AK-47 rifle in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), detonate improvised explosive devices captured from Islamic State fighters near village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A burned copy of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, is seen in a mosque that was torched in Sinjar town, Iraq, May 1, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), disarm an improvised explosive device placed by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), carry improvised explosive devices to place on a track used by Islamic State fighters near village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), stand in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), disarms an improvised explosive device placed by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), disarms an improvised explosive device placed by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A female member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), poses for photograph at a check point in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), carries a disarmed improvised explosive device which was placed by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), disarms an improvised explosive device placed by Islamic States fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), holds a disarmed suicide bomber's vest captured from Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Bullets lie next to a gun at a Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) check point, a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), carry improvised explosive devices to place on a track used by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), place a trip wired improvised explosive device on a track used by Islamic State fighters near village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), rest at a checkpoint in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), disarms an improvised explosive device placed by Islamic State fighters near village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), place an improvised explosive device on a track used by Islamic State fighters near village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), walks at a check point in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A member of Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), places an improvised explosive device on a track used by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A mosque that was torched is seen in Sinjar town, Iraq May 1, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK), stand in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A female member of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), smiles as she holds a sniper rifle in the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 29, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A torn poster with instructions for Muslim prayer hangs on a wall in a mosque that was torched in Sinjar town, Iraq, May 1, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A picture of jailed Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan is seen in a PKK mausoleum in Sinjar region, northern Iraq, May 1, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Pictures of Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) fighters, a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workersà Party (PKK) and PKK fighters are seen in a PKK mausoleum in Sinjar region, northern Iraq, May 1, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters leave a PKK mausoleum in Sinjar region, northern Iraq, May 1, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance Units, an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organisation, and Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba, a Arab tribal militia is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order. Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "YBS TOMASEVIC" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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J.M. Berger, a fellow at the George Washington University Program on Extremism and coauthor of the book, "ISIS: The State of Terror," told Business Insider that Adnani's audio recording is "the weakest message we've seen from ISIS possibly ever."

"Their previous messaging and communications have sought to advance the narrative that they're winning, that they're succeeding on the ground," Berger said. "What we've heard in this message is some cold water being thrown on that. There's confession to the possibility that they could lose some territory."

SEE ALSO: Trump says he would 'not rule out' using nukes against ISIS

Just last year, ISIS was calling on people from all over the world to travel to the "caliphate," which it depicted as an Islamic utopia. But now, ISIS is telling its supporters to stay in their home countries and attack "infidels" there rather than travel to the Middle East.

"The recruitment and foreign fighter flows do seem to have peaked, and this message was pretty clear that it's difficult to go to the Islamic State now," Berger said, adding later that it's "getting harder for them to maintain the narrative that they are running a land of milk and honey."

And the group seems to be preparing its followers for even more setbacks. In his message, Adnani asked:

Do you, oh America, consider defeat to be the loss of a city or the loss of land? Were we defeated when we lost the cities in Iraq and were in the desert without any city or land? And would we be defeated and you be victorious if you were to take Mosul or Sirte or Raqqah or even take all the cities and we were to return to our initial condition? Certainly not!

Berger explained that this constituted "an effort to spin the situation that they're in."

ISIS map

"It also seems to be setting up that they can maintain their legitimacy if they don't have Raqqa or Mosul," Berger said, referring to ISIS's strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Charlie Winter, a senior research associate at Georgia State University's Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative who has studied ISIS propaganda extensively, said that Adnani's statement is part of a "gradual shift" in ISIS's message. Winter told Business Insider that ISIS is "hedging a little bit" as it suffers losses in the Middle East.

"This is to be expected," Winter said. "It's not at all surprising that this is the message now because ... their followers aren't idiots. So this kind of thing is an important thing to be told."

Winter cautioned that ISIS's territorial losses don't necessarily negate the group's message entirely.

He said:

While territory is very important to Islamic State, it's not the be-all and end-all. The institution is the caliphate and the bureaucracy that supports it and the overall apocalyptic utopianism that makes up its message. Territory makes its argument more compelling, but it's not going to disappear if this territory gets lost.

Berger echoed this view.

He said:

Because of the complexity of the conflict, there are still opportunities for [ISIS] to turn it around and keep that territory, at least. Or really, really, if the situation becomes more chaotic around them, there may be opportunities for them to make incremental gains. This [message] clearly establishes that they intend to continue.

A military coalition led by the US is preparing to launch offensives against ISIS in Raqqa, the group's de-facto capital in Syria, and Mosul, ISIS's stronghold in Iraq.

In response to the increased pressure on these cities, ISIS has been building a "back-up capital" in Sirte, Libya. But the group has been struggling to expand there.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren said during a Pentagon briefing last week that ISIS has lost 45% of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and 30% to 35% of the populated areas it once held across its "caliphate."

As the group loses ground, the flow of foreigners to its territory has slowed significantly and defections have increased.

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