National Public Radio quotes Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Ramzy Mardini on whether Islamist militant gains in Iraq and Syria highlights an overreaching that will open rifts with its current partners:

But now IS is in classic overreach mode, says Kilcullen. Other analysts agree that IS’s ambitions will create divisions.

“It will help and hurt” the Islamic State, says Ramzy Mardini, a non-resident fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council. Declaring a caliphate “creates uncertainty for the Sunnis that backed” the group, he says. Mardini points out that IS arrived in Mosul in early June with a limited force of around 2,000 fighters. They were prepared to spring prisoners from the jails. They didn’t expect the Iraqi army to collapse so quickly.

“They weren’t prepared to take over a city of 2 million people,” he says.

The caliphate, with deep religious symbolism that harkens back to the early days of Islam, is a recruiting bid to a wider audience, says Mardini.


“They are over-stretched. They need new blood,” says Mardini.

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