ISIL could become the voice of Sunnis if we don't find a way to stop it soon

In return, ISIL institutes order, doling out harsh punishments for violations of Islamic law, while protecting local populations from the Assad and Maliki regimes. It is restoring Sunni pride as well, carrying out successful raids against the Iraqi army and Syrian forces that have seized oil refineries and gas fields. All of this led ISIL leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on June 30 not only to declare the “Islamic State”, but the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate, an institution formally dissolved 90 years ago.

The Iraqi army has thus far proven incapable of pushing ISIL back, due in no small part to ISIL’s military ability and newly captured equipment. But the Iraqi army’s losses are largely due to the Maliki government’s unwillingness to include Sunnis, which is the result of the support it receives from Iran. Kurdish forces, which Washington decided to arm this week, are in a position to push back on ISIL near its northern enclave but will be unable, and most likely unwilling, to deploy in Sunni areas of Iraq.

The same military and political limits hold true in Syria. Despite Assad’s recent battlefield gains in the west, his willingness and ability to operate in Eastern and central Syria, where his forces have sustained heavy losses, remains limited. Assad’s hardline position during the Geneva Peace talks and surrounding his “reelection” last June make it unlikely that the regime will peeling off moderate Sunnis to its side.

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