Rabat - The military prowess of ISIS is a mystery to Western observers.Nations with elite militaries fail to understand how the armies they have trained and equipped lose ground so fast to what they take to be small, unorganized, poorly equipped and trained commandos of uneducated and uncultured bigots. Their initial conviction that ISIS will be defeated by the support of air strikes and financial blockades is faltering. Not only has ISIS become increasingly wealthy, but it is conquering oil fields and depriving both Syria and Iraq of not only the sources of their wealth but also of the weight of the entrenched régimes and their hold on regional power. Furthermore, ISIS saves money on weaponry and equipment by simply picking up those left behind by the fleeing armies.

Abdellatif Zaki is a professor of Languages and Communication at Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco.