The decision by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) to declare a new state shows signs the terrorists are presumptuous their power can’t be challenged, according to foreign policy experts.
Kirk S. Lippold, USN (Ret.) and Sarhang Hamasaeed told Foxnews.com the rapid expansion of ISIS could be their downfall.
Hamasaeed is the senior program officer for the Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Lippold served as commander of the USS Cole when it came under a suicide terrorist attack by Al Qaeda in 2000.
“The decision definitely shows a confidence, overconfidence by the [militants],” said Hamasaeed. “They now feel they have large population and a number of towns [to] move to the next stage of expanding their territory.”
Lippold added that recent actions by the militants demonstrate an “overreach.” He says the reality is “they are stretched too far, too thin – they don’t have the ability to operationally hold large swaths of [territory and] not a large force to keep the population under thumb and control them.”
Hamasaeed points out if Iraqi forces are not able to stop ISIS, it’s likely they will continue to push further into Iraq.
The group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is pushing to control all of the Middle East. “They feel that now they have the geographic heart of the Islamic [world] and now with the finances to make [it happen],” said Hamasaeed.
Lippold says Iraq’s current government is setting up the conditions for al-Baghdadi to grow stronger. “You could potentially see the fall of the government … if we [U.S.] engage with [Prime Minister] Malaki and prop him up; it does nothing to solve the core problems.”