In recent weeks, combinations of Iraqi government units, Kurdish pesh merga forces, Shiite militias and armed Sunni tribesmen have seized the Rabia crossing with Syria; taken back the area of Zumar in the north and Jurf al-Sakr south of Baghdad; opened crucial roads in the country’s center; and held off Islamic State advances elsewhere. Continue reading the main story For the first time since the jihadists seized Mosul and much of northwestern Iraq in June, an Iraqi military vehicle can drive from Baghdad to the northern city of Erbil on a main highway. Hisham Alhashimi, an Iraqi researcher and an expert on the Islamic State, said those changes had broken up the group’s territory, making it harder for it to move its forces and for its couriers to relay messages among the leadership and the field commanders.I never thought ISIS was much of a real strategic danger; they have prospered only because of the power vacuum created by the Syrian civil war and the incompetent bigotry of Iraq's Shiite leadership.
But I might note that our "strategy" of supporting the "moderate rebels" in Syria took a big blow last week when one of the groups we were counting on surrendered to ISIS and handed over all the weapons we had given them. I don't think there are any meaningful forces in Syria other than the Assad regime and the various Sunni fanatics, and eventually we will have to choose between them.