In the face of

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Senior Member
Article : Battling for islamic space
Source :
What is meant by the underlined part

Above all, ISIS is flush with funds and weaponry seized in Mosul and other towns, and has boosted its strength with those released from Iraqi prisons. However, these achievements could be short-lived in the face of apowerful external coalition mobilised against it or from its own internal contradictions.
I looked up dictionary, but it says 'despite', but it doesn't make sense here.So please help me.
Thank you
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Maybe this interpretation will help: However these achievements could be short-lived because a powerful external coalition has been mobilized against it ...

    In this sentence, "in the face of a powerful external coalition" means that ISIS's achievements could be short-lived because this coalition opposes ISIS.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    'In the face of' is hard to gloss, I wouldn't say 'despite' really covers it.
    It is more to do with dealing with a difficult situation.
    So my gloss on the sentence is:
    ISIS looks powerful at the moment but that might not last long when they have to deal with the stronger coalition.
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