You are here:

U.S. History/isil in iraq/syria


hello michael every answer you have given has been very very educational.i donot know where i'd be without your help....for now it seems perpetuate airstrikes have worked against the so called islamic state ..but for how long will this action continue and does isil have anything up it's sleeve to give a strong addition i have been told there are in access over 14,ooo members in that group and they are ever growing through kidnapping of children and shaping them to soldier for them aswell as abducting women as sex slaves and burying their husbands...please advise more and what is your own personnel view to this conflict and the social,cultural and economic affect caused from the actions caused by this evil disease that is isil?  please advise ...thankyou for your last answer you're the best michael....val


Thank you for your kind words.

The western allied air strikes have been designed to keep ISIL from moving openly or concentrating its forces.  This has prevented or at least slowed ISIL's ability to take more territory.  It is also designed to give opposition on the ground a better chance at defending themselves.  Air strikes have also focused on damaging ISIL's economic engines, especially oil drilling and transportation.  This has all weakened ISIL, although there are other ways it has continued operations.

ISIL is seeking recognition as an actual State.  However, no existing nation recognizes it and it remains at war with every country in the region.  Even without US or western involvement, it seems difficult that it could ever obtain status as a recognized State unless its neighbors agreed to such a thing.  I don't see any possibility of that in the foreseeable future.  Therefore, it will remain a destructive force until destroyed or forced underground.

ISIL's destructive and terrorist policies have done more to unify the middle east than anything else in the last century.  Sunni powers such as Saudi Arabia and Shia powers such as Iran are both committed to destroying ISIL.  As you point out, many of its own soldiers are compelled to join under threat of execution.  It is unclear how many would remain loyal to the cause if the military is destroyed or disbursed.  In all likelihood territory will eventually be retaken, probably by a strong man turned dictator that can maintain a powerful military presence to keep ISIL underground.  A committed core of ISIL will remain active as a terrorist group, striking from hidden location, much like Al Qaeda did for much of the past decade.

The long term implications of all this is unclear.  I am pessimistic that ISIL's biggest accomplishment is showing a new generation that there is a life worse than living under a dictator.  Many people living in the middle east may be willing to live under military dictatorship if it is seen as necessary to keep at bay radical Islamic forces such as ISIL.

- Mike

U.S. History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

©2017 All rights reserved.