In the last half of last year, Islamic terrorist forces took over land and cities in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi army, trained by the United States, was no opposition. All U.S. forces had left Iraq. Syria was in the middle of a violent civil war. The terrorists seemed unstoppable.
Many different violent jihadist groups – mostly made up of Sunni Muslims – were joining together to fight. Their goal was to create a caliphate in the region and soon in the world. Sharia law would govern under a single ruler.
The fighting was fierce and cruel. Beheadings were on YouTube. The people in the West and most of the Muslims around the world were horrified.
Slowly resistance to the jihadists began to form. The United States and allies sent in airpower. Iraq started to get itself together. Iran is sending its militias to bolster the Iraqi forces.
Holes are now beginning to develop in the Islamic jihadist forces. Experts say the pressure on these terrorists is mostly internal.
New arrivals still may be driven by their beliefs, but they arrive with no military skills. Dissension is beginning around assignments and even accommodations. Different nationalities may view each other with suspicion.
There are no signs that these problems are changing things in a dramatic way.
The Islamic State is battling major offensives on at least three fronts. These include the Kurds in northern Syria and northern Iraq. The jihadists also face the combined force of Iraqi army and Shiite militia fighters nearing the central Iraqi city of Tikrit.
Revenue from oil is falling. Maintaining supply lines is becoming more difficult. Strategies to deal with all these changes are not very clear.
Source: The Washington Post March 8, 2015