I gave you the rundown on Islamic militants taking over Iraq’s second largest city on Tuesday, but the situation has gotten worse. The terrorist group, ISIS, now controls many of the cities in northern Iraq and has picked up equipment (weapons, Humvees, helicopters, etc.), cash, and volunteers along the way (mainly by emptying Iraq’s prisons wherever they are, kind of like Bane in “Dark Knight Rises”). They have also been summarily executing civilians and Iraqi soldiers, acting so savagely that even al-Qaeda thinks they are too extreme. Al-Qaeda, the plane-hijacking, civilian-killing, suicide bombers, think that ISIS has gone too far. If al-Qaeda thinks you’re too extreme, that should probably be a red flag.
It’s pretty clear by now that ISIS wants to carve out a Sunni state that would include eastern Syria and western Iraq, from which they could wage jihad. The Iraqi government has lost control of the country and has been asking for outside help, in the form of airstrikes, intelligence, or whatever we can provide. President Obama has said he won’t rule anything out, given that 10,000 American officials and contractors are still in Iraq, and ISIS poses a serious threat to the whole region. Iran has reportedly sent 500 Revolutionary Guard troops to fight alongside the Iraqi army. The next step is probably to evaluate our options (President Obama announced that he doesn’t want to send troops) and see how they line up with what the Iraqi government needs before ISIS marches on Baghdad.