No surprise here: Even with almost no official outreach to Iraq’s Sunni clan leaders happening, ISIS occupation is so miserable that those local Sunni leaders are voluntarily teaming up with Kurdish and Shia paramilitaries on an ad hoc basis to mobilize their personal regiments against the ISIS fighters.
Which is not to say they’re happy about it. One leader quoted in the New York Times report said, in reference to partnering with pro-government forces to fight ISIS, “We are ready to shake hands with the devil” — not exactly a ringing endorsement of Baghdad or Iraqi unity.
But the underlying reality still stands: The so-called “Islamic State” is far too vicious and inflexible (not to mention religiously questionable) to win the hearts and minds necessary to prevent uprisings against them, even within what should theoretically be their core constituency (disaffected Sunnis in western Iraq). If their administrative capacities are degraded by Assad or the coalition airstrikes in Syria, that will further crippling their ability to remain in place.
ISIS will be defeated, one way or another, because it’s unsustainable. It’s just a question of how much it will cost the local communities and the world — in lives and money — before that end is achieved.