Thursday, June 19, 2014

ISIS in Iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have invaded major cities in Iraq.

Comprising mostly Sunni Muslims, ISIS is an al-Qaeda sub group that wants to establish an Islamic state, that would stretch from Iraq into northern Syria. The group has had substantial success in Syria battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Since launching their offensive in Iraq, ISIS claims to have killed at least 1,700 Shiites.

Thousands of Iraqis have fled, including armed forces. About 60 high ranking Iraqi officials have abandoned their posts, and if found guilty, will be executed.

The Iraqi forces are struggling to control ISIS and have requested United States military aid. In response, Gen. Martin Dempsey, senior ranking member of the U.S. armed forces, has stated,

"National security interest is to counter ISIS where we find them."

President Obama has sent a few hundred American soldiers to protect American personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Warships, air-crafts, and dozens of Marines are on standby near the Middle East.

 The latest is that ISIS has attacked one of Iraq's largest oil refineries in Baiji. The group controls most of the plant and has set fire to a few storage containers. Iraq produces about 3.3 million barrels of crude oil per day, the fourth largest in the world, and is a major part of their economy.

ISIS is slowly closing in on the capitol, Baghdad. The militant group is fighting strong in Baquba, only 60 kilometers outside of Baghdad. But the Iraqi forces are holding ISIS off for now.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised the current government would win in the end.

Many critics, including Saudia Arabia, blame Iraq's current government for the crisis.
They argue that the government has too many Shia Muslims in office, upsetting the Sunni sec.

Many also blame President Obama, saying he should not have withdrew troops a few years ago. On the other hand, some blame Iraq for not negotiating with the United States to keep troops in Iraq longer. The United States wanted American troops to be immune to Iraqi persecution, and Iraq did not allow it, thus leading to no more American troops in the area.