We should not be shocked that Isis took Palmyra – Assad and Putin cannot hold back the jihadi hordes


Originally published by International Business Times

The Islamic State (IS) is supposed to be on its way to defeat. IS is under assault in Mosul and the operation to evict it from Raqqa began a month ago. Just this morning, Turkish-backed rebel forces in Syria have reportedly pierced IS’s defences in al-Bab, IS’s most important city outside of its twin capitals. But on Sunday, after a four-day offensive, IS seized Palmyra. How to explain this?

The first thing to note is that the idea of Palmyra’s fall as a lightning strike that suddenly overwhelmed the city’s defences, when thousands of IS jihadists expelled from Mosul poured in, is false. IS has been shaping this offensive for many months, and the appearance of a sudden collapse –as in Mosul in June 2014 – is this long process coming into public view.

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