According to Brian Fishman, a fellow at New America and an ISIS analyst who's writing a book about the group, it's important to remember that the Islamic State is a "hybrid group."
"There are three dimensions in which ISIS has to be considered," he said. First, "how is it doing in the core areas of control in Iraq and Syria?" Second, "how is it doing spreading to the wilayats [provinces] outside the core?" And third, "how is it doing as a global terrorist organization, committing attacks across the international system?"
"In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is on the defensive from a year ago, but when it comes to the wilayats, they're stronger" Fishman told me. He also noted "reports that they have moved a number of people from Iraq and Syria to Libya," adding, "to the extent that it's happening that's striking. That's the kind of thing people always worried about with al Qaeda."