Islamic State Growing Larger Than Al-Qaeda Ever Thought They Could - Experts

The Islamic State (IS) jihadi movement has evidently overshadowed Al Qaeda, claim terrorism experts.

MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Islamic State (IS) jihadi movement has evidently overshadowed al-Qaeda, claim terrorism experts.

"They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They're tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we've seen… the sophistication of terrorism and ideology married with resources now poses a whole new dynamic and a new paradigm of threats to this country," said US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, as cited by Foreign Policy.

Chuck Hagel believes that IS poses "an imminent threat" to the US interests both in the Middle East and in other parts of the world. The radical movement is growing rapidly, with new members joining from Europe, Middle East and Asia.

"[ISIS have] probably eclipsed Al-Qaeda, which for all intents and purposes, started with a big bang on September 11th and sort of went downhill," noted Ed Blanche, a terrorism expert, in an interview with Al Arabiya News, adding that ISIS has learnt a lot from the al-Qaeda movement.

Reportedly, ISIS was formed in 2004 as a branch of al-Qaeda, however, it evolved into a self-sufficient organization soon after. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring the radical movement has strengthened and expanded significantly. According to Al Arabiya, in late 2013 tensions arose between al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and IS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Eventually, al-Qaeda cut off all relations with IS in February 2014.

Meanwhile the US intelligence officials have reported that IS militants are demonstrating "good" governing skills in conquered regions. Apparently, the Islamic State has adopted Hezbollah's strategy, "devoting considerable human and financial resources toward keeping essential services like electricity, water, and sewage functioning in their territory," Foreign Policy notes. Moreover, extremists are improving region's infrastructure by building new roads, opening hospitals and initiating small-business programs, the media outlet stresses. At the same time the IS is enforcing harsh and inhuman laws, murdering Christians, Shia and representatives of other religious minorities because of their beliefs.

"ISIS is the most dangerous terrorist group in the world because they combine the fighting capabilities of al Qaeda with the administrative capabilities of Hezbollah. It's clear that they have a state-building agenda and an understanding of the importance of effective governance," underscored David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert, as quoted by Foreign Policy.

On the other hand, the movement may soon face serious obstacles, some experts claim. While IS is enjoying increasing support from the radical Sunnis, its "land-grabbing" strategy may considerably decelerate its growth, deems David Mack, a former US ambassador.

"Right now, ISIS seems to have generated a lot of enthusiasm around what you might call the jihadist community but they will not be able to sustain that very well over the long term," he said as cited by Al Arabiya.

Although experts believe that it is possible to contain the growing threat of the Islamic State movement, they admit it is an exceptionally hard task.

ISIS is a Sunni militant group, which had been fighting in Syria until recently, led an attack on the western and northern regions of Iraq. ISIS militants captured Mosul, the capital of the northern Iraqi province of Manawa, a part of the Salah al-Din province, including its administrative center, the city of Tikrit and other territories. The militants also announced their intention to march on Baghdad. Recently ISIL declared Caliphate in captured territory and renamed itself as "Islamic State".

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