ISIS: THIS TOO SHALL PASS
Al-Shabab, a Somali al-Qaida-linked group, claimed responsibility for the hours-long assault on Mpeketoni in which 48 people were killed. The attack began Sunday night as residents watched World Cup matches on TV and lasted until early Monday, with little resistance from Kenya's security forces.
Obviously, that story does not contradict the notion that Al-Shabab has had trouble holding and governing territory. But they are not on the run, either.
GLASS HALF FULL: The NY Times mismatches headline and story in this guest piece by Steven Simon, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute:
Who Will Win in Iraq?
ISIS Will Fail in Iraq, and Iran Will Be the Victor
However, ISIS will "fail" in that they will not take Baghdad, which is now overwhelmingly Shiite. Whether the leaders of ISIS would consider his projected endgame a failure is far from obvious:
In short, despite the rapid success of the Sunni campaign, it is a kamikaze attack that will make the Shiite hold on the Iraqi state stronger, not weaker.
That said, it’s unlikely that Mr. Maliki will have the stomach to retake the Sunni-majority areas of western Iraq anytime soon. The rump Iraq, like the Assad regime in Syria, will be ever more in thrall to Iran, and committed to domestic policies that make the reconstitution of the country via a political process ever more unlikely.
So Mailiki continues to govern Shiite Iraq and ISIS keeps Sunni Iraq. That sounds like a defeat ISIS can live with; as to whether Obama would be willing to go on national television and declare that to be an ISIS defeat, well, that would really be a job for Susan Rice.