"... an examination of its history through its own documents indicates that the group has been far more ambitious and effective than United States officials judged as they were winding down the American involvement in the war.
The Sunni extremist group, while renowned for the mayhem it has inflicted, has set clear goals for carving out and governing a caliphate, an Islamic religious state, that spans Sunni-dominated sections of Iraq and Syria. It has published voluminously, even issuing annual reports, to document its progress in achieving its goals..."
Yet it was a surprise when it happened!?! Strange, was no one paying attention? Well actually, they were: "... In congressional testimony in February, a top army intelligence official, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, said the group, “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014....”