The Islamists of ISIS are, as Maggie Fick and Isra' al-Rubei'i of Reuters report

… crushing resistance across northern Iraq so successfully that its promise to march on Baghdad may no longer be unrealistic bravado.

The have accomplished this not so much through tactical brilliance as ruthlessness and brutality. For instance

… when its fighters met armed resistance from the town of al-Alam for 13 days running …They kidnapped 30 local families and rang up the town's most influential citizens with a simple message about the hostages: "You know their destiny if you don't let us take over the town.” Within hours, tribesmen and local leaders caved in to save the families. The black flag of the Sunni militants, who are bent on overthrowing the Shi'ite-led Iraqi government, was soon flying over government buildings and police stations in al-slam.

It isn’t popular. But, then, it doesn’t have to be. Not when

"One hundred percent of people are angry that the Islamic State is here but there is nothing we can do," said a scared resident who spoke by telephone on condition of anonymity.

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