An analysis from Stratfor Global Intelligence claims that the effort to re-establish medieval caliphates will run into several obstacles.
The first has to do with internal divisions among radical Islamists themselves. Muslim nation-states are admittedly artificial, often weak, but still Islamists tend to group together along national lines: “Most Islamists, who are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood or some variant of it, embrace the nation-state and should not be conflated with the minority of radical Islamists and jihadists who seek to eliminate national boundaries and return to a romanticized notion of the past.”
Besides national divisions, there are differences of vision: “Al Qaeda’s denunciation of the Islamic State as a deviant force underscores the competition it faces from within the jihadist movement. Furthermore, there is an entire constellation of radical Islamists beyond al Qaeda that does not accept the Islamic State’s claim to a caliphate. These Islamists will seek to form their own caliphates or emirates in the same battle spaces. Meanwhile, other groups operating in different parts of the Muslim world seek to form their own caliphates.”
This is to say nothing of the difficulties that will arise from international efforts to contain the Islamic state.
Stratfor predicts that the difficulties will eventually force moderation: “the attempt to create caliphates and the associated difficulties of governance will force many radical Islamists to opt for pragmatism and become relatively moderate. . . . opposition from fellow Muslims also learning about politics and governance will give them less room to operate.”