The Islamic State(IS) and other terror groups, wrecking havoc upon the safety and the security of the Middle East, and extending to Nigeria and the horn of Africa, and having inspired cells and sympathizers in wider Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, are virtually impossible to defeat.
Air strikes and other present operations against these groups could only succeed in degrading and containing these terrorists; but as to their ultimate defeat, that remains an almost impossibility as long as bad regimes like that of Bashar al Assad's in Syria, remain in power.
Bad regimes are direct fuel-sources to terror. Bad regimes spread violence because of their fractured and flawed non-inclusive practices of governance. Hence, lacking viable alternatives to bad regimes, effected people, especially the young, continue to be lured to extreme militancy, as a better choice to the ruling evils.
Moreover, the difficulty of defeating groups like the IS and others, is complicated by the numbers of people displaced by conflicts. That 11 million people have been displaced by the Syrian war alone, gives credence to the notion that many effected people and youth, could grow up with the memories of war and the reality of the impotence of the international community to ameliorate the conditions that gave rise to their displacement, thus many could become willing recruits of the IS and others.
In addition, conflicts in Libya and Yemen, along with any failure of sustained power- sharing in Iraq, risk becoming more fertile recruitment grounds for terrorists. Also, effected and disenfranchised victims of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza could become radicalized along with sympathizers of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.
However, while degradation of these terror groups is achieved, all speculation painting such as a defeat, should be dis-spell because these groups appear to have the capacity to adapt, and to diffuse into functioning communities, from within which their rein of terror could become more sophisticated effecting even larger swaths of populations.
Therefore, containment of the spread of terror is imperative in the interest of global security. And from within that containment, those guilty of crimes against humanity could be brought to justice.
The apparent generation-long political and social reshuffle within the locations most effected by terror, could eventual witness the ascension of moderates to lead such groups. These groups, like the PLO did, will make the inevitable transformation to political entities within their regions. Then in the absence of extremists, the regions could become more stable, thus lending a welcomed element toward global security and peace.