It is extremely unlikely that the ISIS can be destroyed by only opposing it by air force only. It is unlikely that the ISIS will be contained by air force only.
There is a stream of people, who want to join the ISIS, from all over the world.
The ISIS, a Sunni Muslim group, has large support in Iraq. It’s governing a territory with the size like Great Britain, and administers about 8 million people, mainly Sunni Muslims.
In Iraq, ISIS means the answer of the Iraqi State support oppression from the Shi’ites. For the Muslim world, the Islamic State means the expansion of Islam and the successful Sunni Muslim battle against the Shi’ite Muslims, and the failing campaigns of the American led international coalition against ISIS.
With the current oil price, the economical and social futures of many Arab and Muslim states are very grim. The chance that there will be more failed states is very likely, with the increase of civil unrest and war and support for the ISIS.
Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims
Iran is mainly a Shi’ite state. The Iranian state suffered economically because of the sanctions, the international community had imposed. With the low oil price, that economy is likely to suffer more. And that also means that any major military campaigns are unlikely, even that they have the resources and means.
On the other side we have another military power, Saudi Arabia, a mainly Sunni state. But Saudi Arabia suffers the same problem as Iran and they don’t have the financial resources for a major military campaign.
Iraq has a Shi’ite Muslim majority, and a Sunni minority, and an unstoppable Sunni Muslim ISIS devastating Iraq.
In Syria, the government is ruling Syria with a harsh hand, and they belong to a flavor of the Shi’ite Muslims and is in the middle of a civil war and they are ‘suffering’ of Islamic Extremist incursions.
The Syrian government is supported by Iran and Russia. The Syrian ‘rebels’, who are fighting the Syrian government, are supported by mainly Sunni Muslim states.
What started in Syria as massive civilian, peaceful protests and demonstrations, turned quickly ugly and became a civil war, and that also turned ugly and the battling civilians were soon replaced by Islamic extremist groups, still incorrectly labeled as ‘rebels’.
The intentions of those groups, with the exception of ISIS, is the destruction of the Syrian government. The intension of ISIS is to expand their territory of their Islamic State, and that means to fight the Syrian government and to attack any group, which occupies territory. ISIS occupies already more then 40% of Syrian territory.
Iran tries to counter the advancements of the mainly Sunni extremists in Syria by supplying military and financial support to the Syrian government. For the point of view of Iran, it’s a battle against a Sunni attack. In Iraq, Iran is supporting the Shi’ite majority led government.
The Russian government is supporting the Syrian government by military, financial and diplomatic means. For Russia, the reasons for their support is various. First, there is the financial reason. Syria was always a big customer. Secondly, Syria is a strategical asset, and their access to harbours and airfields are a given. And thirdly, they want to counter the American strategical intentions with many Sunni states.
Furthermore, Iran supports several Shi’ite Islamic extremist organizations, like Hezbollah and Hamas. Hezbollah, which is mainly active in Lebanon, was ordered to fight Syrian ‘rebels’ and supports the Syrian government. Hamas, which is mainly located in Gaza, is physically not able to join the fight, but they are able to make trouble with Israel, a strong American ally.
The conflicts in the Middle East are mainly the conflicts between Shi’ite and Sunni supported parties. Those conflicts are/were not wars, until ISIS came into existence. The ISIS is performing war with the intention to expand their territory for their Islamic State.
With an economical depression all over the world, and the economical problems of many oil producing countries in the Middle East, the world community is not able to fight the ISIS military in a meaningful matter.
As long as the ISIS is limiting their activities only in Iraq and Syria, and limit their slaughter of civilians and minorities and refrain from mega terror attacks internationally, they are free to do their thing virtually unopposed.
The Shi’ites in the world, mainly in the Middle East, and their supporters, are also not able to counter the ISIS in a meaningful way.
ISIS is not likely to be stopped, neither destroyed. They prove to be master strategists, which enabled themselves to expand their territory and to grow economically and in number of fighters and of course in popularity all over the world. They also manages to present themselves as the only keepers of Islam with their Islamic State.
For the short and medium future, ISIS is likely to stay as a major factor, unimposed.
With the expected economical troubles of many Arab and Muslim states, the civil unrest is likely to increase and feeds the ISIS, making it even more powerful and dangerous.
With the blundering American led campaign, the anti western hate and the growth in numbers and confidence of Islamic extremism becomes fuel for the ISIS.
With the mismanaged negotiations with Iran and their intentions to produce an atomic bomb is seen as a further failure of American policies in the Middle East.
The ignorance and incompetence of the American administration is becoming laughable, and dangerous too. It allows other parties to interfere. The power vacuum, the failing Americans leave behind is dangerous, just like what happened in Iraq.