How U.S. intelligence professionals arrive at their estimates when determining the strength, reach and support ISIS/ISIL has should be a major concern, considering their numbers don’t seem to make sense. Currently accepted guesstimations place ISIS/ISIL’s number of committed fighters at between 10 and 31 thousands. Based on ISIS/ISIL’s performance, this can’t possibly be correct.
When one considers the amount of territory ISIS/ISIL has conquered and firmly controls, even allowing for the mass killings and massive numbers of those who’ve fled, that leaves hundreds of thousands, maybe millions left to be managed. There is no possible way all of those who remained are hostages. There is no possible way that many people can be intimidated by so few. This is more than just pissed off Sunni tribes choosing the least of two evils.
Governing the remaining populations in Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah alone should be a logistics nightmare for an army on the move and likely inexperienced in providing public services to keep the locals in line. But, somehow they’ve been able to do just that. While some are just hedging their bets, others have accepted the ISIS/ISIL philosophy. Many more may have embraced it. No matter how you cut it, ISIS/ISIS is getting a lot of help.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was publicly humiliated and forced to apologize to so-called allies, for accusing them of providing financial, tactical and lethal assistance to ISIS/ISIL. Although Joe Biden is known for sticking his foot in his mouth, if he opens it wide enough, many times you’ll find the the truth stuffed in there with it. After witnessing Turkey’s inaction in Syria’s border town of Kobani, many found it to be more than enough evidence to prove Biden’s point. Sometimes doing nothing can be extremely helpful.
Bottom line: Without having any idea how many supporters, sympathizers and wannabes are swelling their ranks, one can never fully appreciate the true danger ISIS/ISIS represents. The fact that ISIS/ISIL is currently fighting (successfully) all over Syria, while threatening the border of Turkey and the outskirts of Baghdad at the same time, should raise some serious questions. Questions like, WTF is really going on and does anybody really have a clue?