Holy shit. That right there pretty much sums up the feeling of reading The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution. Iraq and Syria have been let to fall into wild times where the conflicts are numerous and complex. This Middle Eastern version of the 30 years war, as Cockburn calls it, comes after a period of underestimation by the US and NATO regarding both the fate of Assad and the relevance of the Daesh which have implemented tactics different from their Al Qaeda predecessors. The Obama administration comes out of the affair looking to be without good options, the situation in the region has clearly deteriorated but there’s just not a ton of effectual options within the realm of possibility – boots on the ground being the last thing the administration wants to do.
Great book, highly recommend picking it up if you’d like to understand why ISIS matters.