Depending on your take on the situation the title of this post could really mean two things… firstly… it could mean the end of our lives as we know them as IS expand and become a world power or secondly, the option where ‘now’ is the time when the Islamic State starts to implode.
I’m going with option two for this article for the simple reason that I feel it is the most likely outcome of the above options.
But why do I believe that IS are starting to implode and why do I feel they have entered the beginning of the end?
IS, ISIS, ISIL or whatever else you wish to call it has expanded around the globe dramatically in the last 6 months. I feel they have expanded too fast. Factions aligning with them are siding with them for the ‘reputation’, akin to school kids siding with the school bully for the ‘protection’ and the ‘notoriety’. Going further with my school bully analogy are these school kids going to hang around when the school bully finds himself in the ascendency and himself starts to get bullied. Once this conflict expands into formal military action these small factions will disappear back into the woodwork.
Another thing the amalgamation of the foreign fighters into IS brings is the power struggle. Reports are surfacing from inside Syria of tension between fighters within ISIS. After early and significant gains the IS carnival has found itself being slowly ground down and for the first time it now finds itself on the defensive within Iraq and Syria. The air campaign against them has been restricting their freedom of movement and crippling their cash cows (oilfields and the like) whilst they have also been driven from Kobani by Kurdish fighters. The Kurdish fighters have also joined with moderate Syrian rebels and between them have liberated approximately 215 small towns and villages from IS in the area of Kobani and have their sights set on larger IS strongholds.
“They are struggling with new challenges that did not exist before,” said Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.
Assads pro-Government forces have also been clashing with ISIS in and around Deir el-Zour airbase which is the last major military stronghold for Assads forces in the east of the country.
With reports of desertions and IS actually turning on its own forces how long can they hold their organisation together. If Mosul falls in the anticipated Spring offensive by 25’000+ Iraqi forces this could very well be the ‘Beginning of the end‘.