With sickening snuff videos and viral postings of mass executions, ISIS has developed the projection of terror way beyond any predecessor. It has also managed to make itself seem more militarily formidable than it actually is. Even though its capacity as a training camp and assignment center for jihadists who can be sent to blow people up in Europe, the U.S. and Asia poses an extreme new danger, this should not be confused with its threat as a land-based army.
For sure, as ISIS created its sprawling caliphate with lightning thrusts into Iraq from its base in northeast Syria, it appeared to sweep all before it. It was well funded, well armed and well led. It rapidly incorporated military equipment and skills from disaffected units of the Iraqi army.