Out of the crucible of the Syrian civil war and the discontent in Iraq’s Sunni regions, something new is emerging. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is no longer a state in name only.* It is a physical, if extra-legal, reality on the ground. Unacknowledged by the world community, ISIS has carved a de facto state in the borderlands of Syria and Iraq. Stretching in a long ellipse roughly from al-Raqqah in Syria to Fallujah in Iraq (with many other non-contiguous “islands” of control in both Iraq and Syria), this former Al Qaeda affiliate holds territory, provides limited services, dispenses a form of justice (loosely defined), most definitely has an army, and flies its own flag. The United States has reacted to this reality indecisively, with policy split in half by the official, if no longer functional, internationally recognized border between Syria and Iraq. But the reality of a de facto jihadist state is not a state of affairs that can be long tolerated.