In January 2014, I met with Sunni governors to discuss their views on the ISIS threat as it applied to their regional security issues. At that time ISIS was in Ramadi only, seen by a cynical but powerful few as a useful tool to leverage political reforms from the Shiite led government.
The subsequent almost magical rise of ISIS across Iraq was believed by all though it made no sense. The ISIS of January 2014 and the ISIS of September 2014 were unrelated, certainly not the same entity.
The new “ISIS” made militarily impossible simultaneous moves across Anbar, Nineveh, Salahaddin, Tamim, Dyala, Karbala, Babil, Najaf, Qadisiyyah and even Sulaymania provinces and this is in Iraq alone.