Thursday, September 25, 2014

Islamic State (3) Emergence

The Islamic State that has emerged in Syria and Northern Iraq is controlled by Spirit of Assyria. The Islamic State had its origins in Iraq following the American invasion in 2003. A number of Sunni insurgency groups were formed to fight against the American troops and the Shia militia that were pushing Sunni Moslems out of Baghdad. Several of these groups consolidated into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) which at its height it enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Nineveh and Kirkuk. In 2008, George Bush paid the Sunni tribal leaders to lead a backlash against the group and it went into a temporary decline.

In late 2009, when US troops began withdrawing from the countryside, ISI rebounded and directed its attacks against the Iraqi government. The following year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader of the ISI. He replenished the group's leadership by appointing former Ba'athist military and intelligence officers who had served during the Saddam Hussein regime. Many of these men had spent time imprisoned by American forces.

The war in Syria created a new opportunity. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent Syrian and Iraqi ISI members, who were experienced in guerrilla warfare, across the border into Syria. They recruited supporters and gradually gained control of much of the north-eastern part of the country. ISI became ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).

In 2014, ISIS gained control of Fallujah, which had been conquered twice by American forces. ISIS forces began a major offensive in northern Iraq and quickly captured Samarra, Mosul and Tikrit. The Iraqi army that had been trained by the Americans collapsed and fled. ISIS now controls a large area of land in northern and eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It has gained control of money from the bank of Mosul and military weapons left by Iraqi army. It gained control of some oil fields and the Tikrit oil refinery, which will give it an ongoing supply of revenue and arms. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself to be the new caliphate of the Islamic State.

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