by Michael Pizzi, AlJazeera
Against all odds, an Al-Qaeda-splinter group best known for beheading its enemies has weathered U.S. firepower and proven nearly unbeatable on a vast and expanding battlefield across Syria and Iraq — its self-declared “caliphate.”
But according to a new analysis from the Soufan Group, a New York-based security and intelligence consultancy firm, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) headline-grabbing brutality has obscured the other factors behind its emergence as a formidable challenger to regional powers. Under the guidance of veteran Saddam-era Iraqi commanders, ISIL has morphed from an underground terror cell into a dynamic and well-oiled military force that defies the conventional definition of an insurgent group.
“In Baghdad, it’s still a classic terror group. In Fallujah, it’s a light infantry unit. It’s whatever it needs to be,” said Patrick Skinner, the lead author of Soufan’s November report, which collated open-source information and analysis from other experts. Read the entire story.