- Posted July 7, 2014 by
How long will the ISIS caliphate last?
The “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), an extreme faction that splintered off of Al-Qaida (yes, you read that correctly) recently declared that they were forming a caliphate known as the “Islamic State” in a region between Iraq and Syria that intersects both countries’ borders. CNN recently published an article titled “ISIS overshadows Al-Qaida”, emanating both a sense of awe and fear. The author points out the differences between ISIS and Al-Qaida’s tactics and political system in a manner that seems to indicate the superiority of ISIS to Al-Qaida, as well as stresses the implications of ISIS’s recent declaration of the “Islamic State”. By doing so, I believe he gives ISIS, its system, and its recent declaration too much credit, and fails to note, given the location, socio-economic situation, and political tensions in the region, how long this “Islamic State” could realistically last.
The declared state borders: Turkey, Iran, the autonomous Kurdish state, and Jordan, and is located in the heart of two countries engulfed in civil turmoil, Syria and Iraq. Forces of opposition from Syria alone include multiple militant extremist splinters (not necessarily affiliated with Al-Qaida), the non-extremist Syrian Opposition, and the Alawi forces of Bashar Al-Assad, the current president of Syria seeking to annihilate the Syrian Opposition. Despite an initial rag-tag display by the Iraqi security forces, thousands of volunteers are signing up to join the force to help resist ISIS expansion, and individual Shi’a clerics are forming their own “armies” to aid in the effort as well.
The current Iraqi government is backed up by Iran, the Kurds want to secede from Iraq to form their own country, and global oil prices are predicted to rise, if they haven’t already done so (Iraq is home to the world's fourth-largest oil reserves.) ISIS harbors very little support from the global Muslim community due to their extremist ideology and interpretations, and most importantly, many citizens living in areas under ISIS control are fleeing, seeking asylum in neighboring countries as refugees.
Large political and military adversaries, strained socio-economic conditions, lack of support from the overwhelming Muslim population, and lack of citizens to govern should lead any sensible human being to predict that this so-called “Islamic State” will not last long. While this insurgency threat should be taken seriously, it should not be blown out of proportion.