So what is next on the strategic timeline for the Islamic State?
According to one source, Al Arabiya, which cites Egyptian experts, the answer is none other than the Suez Canal, and the country it is located in: Egypt.
“There is definitely a threat from ISIS to Egypt,” Mohammed Badr, a professor of political science at the University of Germany told Al Arabiya News, adding that the group has the country in its “line of sight.”
“All extremist groups represent a danger for Egypt,” Badr said, adding that “ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis [an Islamist militant group] are all dangerous for Egypt but the level of their threat is different.”
More details from Al-Arabiya:
One alleged ISIS militant took to social media to warn Egypt that it should be expecting a “surprise” soon. “Except a surprise in Egypt within days,” alleged ISIS member Abu Siyaf al-Masry wrote on his personal Twitter account, according to the Cairo-based daily al-Masry al-Youm.In recent weeks, the Islamist group started showing notable signs that it might be interested in expanding its influence in Egypt.
ISIS' strategy on how to infiltrate Egypt, if indeed that is the case, is simple: ISIS has started to communicate with and coach Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt’s deadliest militant group, and share advice with it on how to create secret cells.
“ISIS and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis are linked on an ideological level even though the group is not believed to be officially linked to ISIS insurgents,” Badr said.
“Their exchange is another sign that shows a clear threat to Egypt from ISIS,” he added.
While the west is traumatized by three beheadings of western journalists in the past month, in Egypt this is almost a daily occurrence, especially if the word "Israel" is uttered. Last week, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which is based in the Sinai Peninsula claimed to have beheaded four men accused of being Israeli Mossad spies in a video that seemed to have been inspired by the methods of ISIS.
Meanwhile Egypt, already deep in political turmoil with the military regime doing its best to cleanse all representatives of the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood (remember them?), appears to not be too concerned about the ISIS threat. Specifically, the possibility of an ISIS offensive was downplayed by an Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman, who told Al Arabiya News that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood were “the two main terrorist organizations” that threatened Egypt.
And while Egypt may or may not be the next territorial expansion for ISIS, a new threat is emerging in the Middle East/North Africa region.
According to Reuters, a new armed group calling itself the Caliphate Soldiers in Algeria has split from al Qaeda's North African branch and sworn loyalty to the radical breakaway group Islamic State fighting in Syria and Iraq. A breakaway of key Algerian commanders from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, would show deepening rivalry between al Qaeda's core command and the Islamic State over leadership of the transnational Islamist militancy. As we expected several months ago, as Al Qaeda's reputation in the terrorist world plummets and is replaced by the "bloodthirsty" ISISites, more and more splinter terrorist groups will gravitate to the "cool, new" clique.