Everyone remembers the meteoric rise of ISIS and how it was quickly transitioned into the creation and announcing of the Islamic State. Everyone then remembers how IS fighters swept through Syria and Iraq, capturing major cities and villages with barely any resistance and setting up a massive, unbroken, zone of control through both countries. I’m sure that people then remember how ISIS became the Islamic State and make grandiose statements and demands as it began ethnic cleansing of minorities while also frequently executing the foreign hostages it was trying to get ransoms for. People also probably remember IS’ ill-fated attempt to take the border city of Kobane and how it has been attracting more and more fighters to the cause. That little debacle very well may have been the beginning of the end for ISIS.
Reports are coming in that point to internal dissent and a potential collapse amongst IS’ fighting forces. As the whirlwind of success has become a long, slow grind and the group begins to suffer defeats, morale is continuing to drop amongst IS fighters. Airstrikes from the US-led coalition have continued to degrade and smash ISIS fighters and abilities wherever possible and the recent success of Kurdish forces in both Iraq in Syria means that IS is losing control of the hundreds of villages they once controlled. Now that an Iraqi army, supported by Shiite militias, are fighting their way towards Tikrit, tensions between local and foreign IS fighters are adding to a powder keg that’s already looking to blow.
Activists from Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (a group based in the IS stronghold of Raqqa) point to disputes and gunfights between local and foreign fighters that have resulted in deaths. They also point to IS fighters being technically executed for breaking laws but in reality for trying to desert. Along with that, corpses have been found near the Syrian-Turkish border that point to foreign fighters who were trying to escape but were caught and killed by fellow IS fighters. While IS continues to recruit foreign fighters by the hundreds, many have little to no military skills and are only signing up to live in the Islamic State, not fight for it. This is leading to even more tensions and as these tensions continue to build, the fighting effectiveness of IS will continue to fall. And as that continues to fall, the group will find itself easier and easier to defeat. These defeats will lead to further drops in morale which will lead to less foreign and local recruits as well as more and more desertions and IS will find itself a false state with no army.
If you’d like to read more, the link is here.