This is a question I’ll be attempting to answer tomorrow. The Islamic State appears to have a lot of small and immediate victories under its belt, thanks to its willingness to use terror as its primary—if not only—weapon. In order to answer this, it might be helpful to understand IS’s goals: The return of the Caliphate and the implementation of Sharia law in order to avoid Western influence. Of course, it’s goals could be anything at all. The main point is we understand that they have goals. Knowing what they are helps us do that. Now, I want you to make a list in your head of how many terror campaigns you can think of where terrorist groups not only achieved their goals, but also sustained them. I’m not talking about terror acts that might or might not have been successful; I’m talking about groups that achieved their long-term goals and sustained them amid popular resistance, the emergence of diplomatic pressures, and external reactionary forces (i.e., foreign militaries). I think you’ll find it rather impossible to think of even one example, no matter how far back in history you go.
Tomorrow I will explain what difference a generation makes.