The ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is definitely a rising force in the Middle Eastern landscape or, rather, in the political and social chaos presently prevailing in the region. It has reached its highest peak in terms of popularity thanks to the well-publicized brutality of its executions of foreigners and enemies, its ruthless use of the media and its military gains on the ground.
If, until now, everything has gone relatively smooth for Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's militias, the scaling up of the military interventions of the United States and its allies in Iraq and Syria will have long term negative effects on the extremists. A quick note on this: aerial strikes, missiles from warships and drones will definitely diminish the military threat, but unless someone regains the territories currently held by the ISIS, the war will never be completely won.
Until todat [sic] we have no idea of who will step up to this task: the Iraqi army or the Kurdish Peshmerga, an international or pan-arabic coalition, or the secular rebel groups waging their fight against Bashar al Assad? And the US forces? This is unlikely to happen during the presidency of Barak Obama, both because his Administration has been actively involved in putting an end to George W. Bush's military adventures, and because the deployment of the American army involves lengthy and costly preparations and is at high risk of human casualties.
If we look at the military side of the equation, there are serious doubts over whether Al Baghdadi's movement will be capable of maintaining, consolidating or expanding the territories under its control. The saying “the more enemies, the more honor” is certainly fascinating, but definitely constitutes an obstacle to the aspirations of the movement. There are too many fronts open for a militia that, according to a recent CIA assessment, can count on between 20 to 32 thousand fighters, in addition to the mass of sympathizers whose reliability is directly proportional to the military successes of the ISIS.