No one interested? This looks phenomenally nasty to me and a massive cock up by US/UK which is irresolvable.
Well unless we partitioned the country and then left them to it this was inevitable. Aside from that solution is there anything that could have been done to make it possible for them to get along with each other?
I'm just catching up with this on the news. It looks very worrying, as there has been significant fighting today. If it reaches Baghdad, it will be very worrying indeed.
The US does seem to be doing military planning (air strikes?) but careful to say there are no preferred options. but can they sit on their hands for more than a few days? And what can be done if 'boots on ground' is not an acceptable optical choice?
I think it's way too simplistic to say this is a massive cock up by US/UK. There were always risks attached to intervention the same as there are risks attached to non-intervention e.g. Syria.
I am not really quite sure what is going on can someone explain??
it seems to have come out of nowhere.
Those poor people having yet more violence flung at them . I think I heard a newsreader say that the eventual outcome could be to partition Iraq off into Kurdish, Sunni and Shia areas?
Where have ISIS sprung from? Why are they killing unarmed individuals? Is this going to be like the break up of Yugoslavia?
This will be not his like ex Yugoslavia.
It will be bloodier and horrible.
And it will affect the whole of the Middle East.
Yugoslavia was contained. This has a potential to explode.
I'm scared actually.
Sometimes at home I'll nip off for a wee and I'll be gone literally two minutes, but when I get back into the living room everything will have descended into chaos in my absence. The twins will be marauding like tiny vikings, spilled Coco Pops all over the carpet, the cat's dragged a dead bird indoors and is trying to bury it under the sofa and the baby's crawling around with a nappy on her head.
The UK/US troops must be feeling a bit like that now. They must be looking at the chaos and thinking, 'Jesus, we just left, like, five minutes ago.'
With my kids, the chaos is inevitable because they're seven. And in Iraq, it's inevitable because, according to BBC footage, it's a country full of men riding around on the back of jeeps firing guns in the air.
Its scary, the speed of what has happened.
My husband is originally from Kirkuk, his entire family still remain there so we are extremely worried about them. Fortunately it appears that the ISIL don not wish to fight the Kurdish Peshmarga who are now in control of Kirkuk. I have heard reports (on the Kurdish news channels) that a province on the very outskirts of Kirkuk was taken by the ISIL but the Peshmerga engaged them in battle and pushed them back.
From my knowledge ISIL have been operating in Syria for some time. Last year in Anbar province in Iraq (area of mostly Sunni Muslims) people were protesting about the government (which is Shia Muslim dominant) as they felt Al Maliki (PM) was favouring the Shia Muslims in the country (he is Shia). This protest was broken up by the Iraqi army/police/security forces, it resulted in several deaths and members of the government from the area resigned. In the aftermath of this incident, with local tribes fighting against the security forces due to the deaths caused the ISIL took the opportunity to move into the area.
The ISIL are made up of Sunni Muslims so was relatively easy for them to take Rahmadi and Fulluajh due to its Sunni population and the tribesman joined forces with them initially to force out the Iraqi security forces. since Dec 13/Jan 14 ISIL have had control of these cities. Now the Iraqi army have reportedly had to resort to indiscriminate shelling from some distance to try and fight the ISIL there.
I was in Kirkuk in March (wanted to go before the elections on the 30 of April) I wanted to visit our family there as i just knew that there would be some sort of trouble there after the election. I in NO WAY expected this to happen. I think the inability to form a new government is a large factor in the timing of the ISILs movements Even though Malikis party won around 100 seats of 328 he is still PM, he was the only candidate the party put forward to be considered as PM, which I think speaks volumes for the kind of man he his; People in his own circles are afraid to go against him for fear of what will happen to them. I think Mousel fell so easily as it is a Sunni area, people here feel persecuted by the Maliki government. The army and security forces there don't believe in Maliki, are not willing to loose there lives on his orders so willingly put down their arms, removed their uniforms and left. 500,000 people fled across the Tigris river into Kurdistan on the ISILs invasion. Shira law has now been imposed there. The ISIL have told the people to go back to living their life how they never did before, they told people to return to jobs and normal life, they have reportedly paid wages to hospital staff, teachers who remain there who had not received pay from the government for several months, they are controlling and running the city.
They will try to push into Baghdad. Baghdad will be better defended. It has a larger amount of Shia civilian and armed forces who will put up a fight greater than other areas, Maliki will concentrate forces to defend Baghdad primarily as it is where he his. If Baghdad is defended and doesn't fall to the ISIL I am not sure the army/security forces have the will to push the ISIL out of the Sunni areas. They would not want to risk death for them, even though they are fellow Iraqis and Muslims, because they believe in a different successor to Mohammed as the leader of Islam after his death how many centuries ago the two sects would not risk their lives to defend the other.
I hope the Peshmerga remain in Kirkuk. It was abandoned by the Iraqi army who could/would not defend it. I feel the only way to save Iraq now is to either allow Kirkuk to be part of Kurdistan (again) and then divide the rest along sectarian lines. I don't think the iraqi army can rid us of the ISIL alone, for this to happen I think they need help from the rest of the world. Not if the form of more weapons, should they be given and then the people on which they have been bestowed desert these weapons will end up in the hands of the ISIL which has already happened in Mousel and Tikrit.
This is much bigger than Syria and Iraq, if not halted and soon the entire region has the potential to be affected.
meglet Here's a BBC background piece about ISIS (aka ISIL).
Long is good, thank you wanttoride.
wanttoride good post.
First heard of this was Wednesday's news at 10 - showed ISIS forces leading a bewildered looking civilian away for execution. Showed the man kneeling with a soldier talking aim behind him. Camera's obviously dimmed out then
This image is haunting me. Why are they targeting and executing civilians?
What is their end goal?
meditrina thanks. That BBC page is handy.
I saw that too hex. There's always violence in the Middle East but this seems more brutal. It's coming across as quite an organised campaign too, targetting specific towns.
The end goal (as with other organisations associated, even loosely, with Al Qaeda) is the establishment of a (Sunni) Islamic Caliphate. That might mean all sorts of things in practice, which makes it a very successful rallying cry.
It seems to be widely expected that they will make an attempt on Baghdad. Commentators I heard yesterday seemed to think they would no be able to take the capital, but that fighting there would be bloody, and the mere fact of reaching he city would be a powerfu boost to their aims (good for recruitment across both Iraq and Syria?)
Yes the end goal is to create an Islamic Caliphate which straddles Syria and Iraq.
I have seen images and video from the areas taken by ISIL (on kurd/arabic news) which will stay with me forever- they don't really employ the same censoring of what is show on TV there, you see everything. The civilians executed/killed will be said to be /security/army who fought against them.
They want (NEED) the people remaining in the areas they hold to NOT fight them so they can remain operating there. They will tell people that the people killed were fighting against them, inhibiting the ISIL liberating the area from underneath the rule of the Shia. It will be done in a way which will both make the people of the are think they are there for the good of them but at the same time let the people know that if they stand out of line then they will go the same way. Allowing the ISIL control by fear.
Al Maliki has been speaking on the Iraqi news just now (probably still going now) the gist of what he said was "They (ISIL) need not to understand that we are weak. We are not sectarian. We will fight as a nation. We will never be sectarians like they want us to be. We will talk the language of justice, we will talk the language of freedom, we will talk the language of all Iraqis regardless of their sect.". he then started again saying the same thing really but using different words so it appears he is saying something else.
It did make me chuckle as he now claims Iraq should unite regardless of sect however numbers of Sunnis in Mousel were not paid wages by the government for several months, Their Shia counter parts in Baghdad/Basra did not receive the same treatment However NOW Iraq is united.
According to Iraqi news their airforce is now involved in halting/forcing back ISIL, more than 1000 civilian volunteers in Baghdad have joined forces with the army after a call of a Shia cleric to fight the ISIL- It will be bloody, they are not trained for combat.
off to see if Maliki is still saying the same thing dressed up as something new.
Maliki has stopped now he went on to say the following:
"If someone is talking today about an Iraq that will be defeated? No. Iraq will never be defeated. We are a brave people. The whole world is supporting the Iraqis. The whole world is listening to Iraqis. The whole world is appreciating our efforts.
They (ISIL) are a threat not only to Iraq but also to the whole region. And even to those who supported them with money and weapons."
"I cannot say it will take days, weeks or months. We need to do it the sooner the better. We need to do it within hours. Because this is our country and we cannot feel safe without beating them."
I have a cousin in Baghdad (currently still working although they have got an evacuation plan if necessary) so will be watching this thread with interest. This is so brutal and chaotic.
Here's this morning's article from the BBC website and it is centring on Iran's offer of assistance (Shia to Shia). It also points out that during ISIS offensives, the Kurds are consolidating and taking more territory.
There are a number of links from that article to other pages with background.
Bizarre that Iran & USA should end up on the same side in trying to repel ISIS.
So sad when the appetite is so huge for democracy.
How deep rooted are feeling between Sunni's and Shia's? Is this historical? What are the differences?
They make Catholics and Protestants in NI look like best friends TBH.
All about who will be the Prophet's Heir.
Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed by Allah to Mohammed. Mohammed is agreed by all Muslims to be the prophet and therefore leader of Islam during his life. Upon Mohammeds death the followers of Islam could not agree who would be his successor (NOT a prophet, but a leader of the religion.
The majority of Muslims believed that Abu Bakr- who Mohammeds closest companion should be leader. He was designated at times to lead prayer by Mohammed at times when he was unable to then he should be his successor. This majority is the Sunni sect.
A minority of Muslims including some of the prophets senior companions believed Mohammeds son-in -law and cousin Ali should be his successor. Some claim this was told to them by Mohammed while on return from Hajj.
Abu Bakr was appointed, being that the majority believed he was Mohammeds successor. Since this time in the 7TH century Islam has been divided. All Muslims believe in all the fundamental points of Islam including Mohammed being Allahs prophet it is only on Mohammeds successors (and naturally their successors) on which they disagree.
Oh no Want, I don't really know anything about this all.
Your posts are very informative and much appreciated!
want - thank you.
You are explaining this really well.
Next question (sorry). How do these differences affect modern day living? I know I sound like I'm ignorant, but I'm trying my best to understand all this bloodshed.
Thanks coffee and Hex
this is a good chart which shows you side by side the differences between Sunni and Shia. On comparison of the two you can see that both sects agree on major fundamental points but have differing beliefs on less a number of important issues (in the grad scheme of things). This is where the tension comes from.
I once asked my husband can they not just agree to disagree and be united as believers in Allah? he answered that Islam is not only a religion it is woven into every part of you life, you must rise early to pray in the morning- you cannot have a lie in, you must slaughter you food in the prescribed way, obtain from certain food and drink, it sets rules about the nature of your relationships with the opposite sex, it enters every part of your life in every moment of it. Therefore these difference may be small in the grand scheme of things but because of the way Islam permeates your life they are magnified. I asked him if he was Sunni or Shia, he said I am Muslim. He said that the successor of Mohammed really doesn't matter to him how many thousands of years.
In Kirkuk (my husbands home city) there is a mix of Kurd (which he his), Turks, Sunnis and Shias and also Christians they mainly have their own areas but on the boundaries of these areas where you find a mix of different people you don't really see a huge difference in daily life. It appears they go about their daily life unaffected by the differing beliefs. I believe this to be the case generally in Baghdad too. From my experience the only time there is trouble between people living together in this way is when an extremist from either sect decides blowing themselves/a car up in an area close by dominated by one particular sect. When this happens on the news you see there is a rise in tension between the sects. Then everything slowly dies down and returns to normal until the next time.
Iraq has the potential to be a great country, it has the wealth from oil which could create wonderful infrastructure and services for its people but it can't. I love it there and people think I am insane! The warmth of the people is like nothing I have experienced. Even though my experiences are based mainly in the Kurdish region and Kirkuk even in the Arab areas I have been to I felt welcome and always safe. I just hope the ISIL don't completely tear apart Iraq and that the government can start to work for the good of all the Iraqi people regardless of religion/sect/ethnicity.
Incredible BBC article
Blair says that the current crisis is nothing to do with the removal of Saddam or the 2003 invasion - instead, according to him, it's a result of inaction on Syria.
The word 'warmonger' springs to mind.
I feel so sad about this. All I can think about are the civilians who have been through so much already.
How can people get so hung up about bloody religion?
I soung naive, I know, but every time, I feel like I'm a looking at the situation like a child, in utter bewilderment at how religion can lead to people acting so brutally.
I think this is one of the cases where religion is just the badge for sectarianism. It tends to be seized on, as it's easy to spot. But like the BigEndians, it's about marking a group not anything to do with faith.
And if course the divide is centuries old, runs in families, and extends to numbers that make up nations.
This thread seems to have quietened down a bit (perhaps because the Boris-ish 'has Blair gone mad' thread was put into Discussions Of The Day yesterday).
I was wondering what the posters here think of the videos which came out yesterday? It seems to have led to a unified anti-ISIS community response in Baghdad - or is that not a fair representation? Was it designed to provoke sectarian strife and/or early surrenders?
Once again, this is tribalism, pure and simple, dressed up as 'religion'. It's what happens when large numbers of young, under-educated, unemployed and often unemployable prospectless men fall under the spell of someone who'll 'make it all better' for them; give them a sense of worth and purpose via the crude means of giving them the illusion of power, usually with a gun or bomb in their hands.
It's more or less the same story all over the world, particularly the less-developed parts.
The people if feel desperately sorry for is the women and girls whose lives become even worse once fundamentalist 'religion' is forced on them.
Sometimes it's hard to believe it's 2014, isn't it?
The military personnel being deployed by uk and US now Are they on the ground but only to protect embassy staff or is this an excuse and a way to get them in even though they said no boots on ground?
The military would be involved if protection was needed for the Embassy (who we presumably want to stay if at all possible for reporting on what is happening and direct access to the Iraqi government) and also to conduct an evacuation operation for all Brits (and other nationals there for whom there are agreements UK should scoop up too) if it comes to that.
Do you have any links about who is being sent, or is that not publicly available?
Now Cameron has said at Prime Ministers Question he believes the UK is at a direct threat from ISIS/ISIL, who from their detailed annual report found in Iraq seem very organized (even by Al-Q standards), as we are already a target, I wouldn't be surprised if the Special Forces in the UK (and elsewhere), start targeting their Command structure, wherever it is.
Hopefully the SAS dishes out the same Human Rights to those that created/run the monster, that ISIS offers innocents in occupation.
But again, its not about religion but power. Those with the biggest guns/thugs want to rule with force to their own ends.
I disagree, conflicts in Africa are mainly about power; the Sunni - Shia spat goes back many moons and is not just driven by a Jihad against the the 'non believers' (infidels) of Islam, but against those from the other main branch of Islam.
I looked up the difference years ago, but have forgotten the detail and don't want to appear any more ignorant of other's faith than I currently exhibit - but look it up with the main pillars of Islam, it's interesting. IMHO.
Apparently, Cameron at PMQT talking about 'the threat' to the UK, might have just been referring to the hundreds of Brits currently fighting in the Middle East, coming back. Still, if I was a senior ISIS member, I'd feel a little more ISILated (ahem), than I did earlier this week - and would look over my shoulder more often..
I think he said there are some 400 Britons who are believed to have travelled to Syria to fight and could well now be with ISIS.
There are also other European nationals doing the same.
If/when those people return, even more firmly radicalised and with both battlefield experience and training in terrorist tactics, then that could obvious pose a threat. Unless police/security/intelligence agencies across Europe can adequately track all of them indefinitely.
How can anyone want to side with these monsters? There is evidence of their brutality against their 'mooslim bruvers' (as the north Londoners are fond of reminding us).
Why do these fools not rise up for peace? Are lads these days so desenstised to violence that they itch to kill?
It's such a mess. There seem to be so many people out there who want to kill each other. The sooner we rid the planet of religion the better.
Many British people travelled to fight in the Spanish civil war against fascism and were not castigated for that. I don't see why we think those who go abroad to fight for a just cause or help the wounded should be criticised for it just because they are Muslim or non white, whatever sides they fight on.
who is funding them?
Can't remember where i read it so correct me if i am wrong, but there are questions being asked of the iraqi military, at certain points of the advance they seemed to put up little or no fight against smaller forces. they abandoned arms and equipment on the side of the road which was handy for the approaching militia.
Likely to be Saudi. A hell of a lot of money and scary crap comes from there.
"In the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.
“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.” The Daily Beast
Yes, it, s scary..
Tansie says pretty much how I see it too.
Yup, Tansie plus ignorant/aggressive/violent western born/bred arse who are brainwashed (assuming they have a brain) into charging off to 'jihad'. I am scared that these wankers are strolling back into the UK and can be standing next to me on the tube.
Unless the 450 Brits alleged to be fighting for ISIS are mentioned in the following document, I can’t see how MI6 would definitely know how many are all fighting for them – rather than be spread across other fighters e.g the less radical Free Syrian’s – but maybe any such fighting is potential domestic terrorist ‘work experience’.
Although the money to fund them came from rich Jihadi backers all around the Gulf, much of their funding now comes via what they plunder, oil from Syria (and now from Iraq?) and arms/tanks from a near 300,000 Iraq army, with too many Sunni soldiers within on the Syrian border – who ran from around a maximum 14,000 ISIS ‘army’, although only a small portion of that has done so well thus far.
”Jihadi Terror Group Plc: ISIS zealots log assassinations, suicide missions and bombings in annual report for financial backers”
• The annual publication is called al-Naba, which is Arabic for 'The News'
• Reports for 2012 and 2013 were analysed by Institute for the Study of War
• ISIS claims to have carried out 10,000 operations in Iraq last year alone
• These included assassinations, bombings and the freeing of prisoners
• Isis compiles it to attract donors and present themselves as organised
• Details emerged as new information about group's funding came to light
It appears they are as good with Powerpoint, as pointing their guns.
I don't think the parallel to the Spanish Civil War stands up as neither side in that was threatening anyone outside Spain's borders. ISIS is Al Qaeda affiliated, and they have attacked in numerous other locations, including UK.
And IIRC, there have been instances of foreign fighters in recent wars (break up of Yugoslavia?) being trained by the Muj in terrorist tactics and going on to attack elsewhere. (Or is my recollection totally off on that one?)
Yes, plenty of young British men and women have gone to kep against the regime in Syria and the UK is against that regime in Syria so in a sense they are doing Cameron's work for him and then are criticised for it. Many of the insurgents in the Arab spring are feminists and moderates. It is not a simple situation of current regimes wonderful and those who are revolting bad fundamentalists.
The only "sense" suggesting that a few hundred British fighters going to Syria "is doing Cameron's work for him", is lame nonsense. IMO.
As previously mentioned, no P.M. wants religious radicals trained in the terrorist arts and capable of attacking a State - especially if getting that training (maybe) pretending to help Syrians - and a few hundred against Assad in so many areas, will not make a jot of difference to the big scheme of things.
Maybe Cameron is banning Syrian Jihadist groups in the UK to GET TO Syrian’s Assad as well?
"MPs ban five Syria-linked jihadist groups in UK"
"Five Syria-linked jihadist groups - including the The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) - have been banned in the UK by MPs."
"Security minister James Brokenshire set out the motion, which was passed unopposed in the House of Commons on Thursday."
"It will now be an offence to be a member of any of the groups in the UK."
What about white working class UK mercenaries who are trained and then work in Africa for hire? Why are they not just as bad as Muslim black young men from the UK who go abroad to fight? We don't ban the former.
Maybe because if they are working as bodyguards/mercenaries/hired guns - in it for the money really - they aren't being brainwashed into an ideology of the west being a vile cesspit of prostitutes/paedophiles/general infadels who are less than human and deserve death? Of course the ISIS lot are also gunning for the shia muslims too (under the same 'they are imfadels, sub humans, need to be slaughtered...'). They won't be very likely to become suicide bombers in Westfield or Anfield or wherever, for the glory of god.
And why specify 'black' muslims? I don't think they have a colour card of fundamental/crackpot barmyness. Or is anyone not 'white'therefore 'black"? There have been some particularly nutty white converts who have gone on to commit atrocities in the name of religion.
And how many white working class bodyguards/mercenaries, are ex British soldiers, making a living doing the only thing they know.
I agree on the Islamist race/colour point, a radical is a radical, treat them all the same if for nothing else, to keep the Human Rights people happy bunnies.
And mercenaris get caught abroad and when they return and jailed.
Actually, I'd kick the arses harder of convets who turn to attack their 'home' society.
Thank you wanttoride for explaining the relationship of the various sects in this situation. Very interesting to understand the history of the infighting. Similar to religious infighting everywhere (sunni/shia, catholic/protestant, etc) from the beginnings of time.
To me there are 2 parts of this, the religious infighting being just part of it. The other part is the effect of it on the wider world, specifically; those radicals who feel the whole world must be converted or at least bow to universal sharia law. I'd say let them settle it amongst themselves if it weren't for that.
Unfortunately, we (US) seem to pick a side to aid based on our own interests (cheap oil or a political agenda) rather than what is truly best for the people involved. And inevitably we end up having picked the 'wrong' side for the 'wrong' reasons & then 'have' to return to 'oust' those we put in power to begin with.
I'm afraid history is going to repeat itself in this situation.
'We' of course, meaning our politicians, not 'We' as in 'We, the People".
The West wants oil security for obvious economic reasons and generally likes to see/promote power balances across the globe, so unfortunately the West’s foreign policy dictates, in the pursuit of that ‘balance’, that it isn’t too important if a country has a bastard of a dictator, as long as he is OUR bastard of a dictator.
In the Middle East decades ago under the Shah of Iran, Iran was a friend of the U.S,, once the fundamentalist Ayatollahs took over Iran, Iraq (with Israel and later Egypt) was our counterbalance to Iran and Syria.
Of course in Middle East politics, Shia versus Sunni is the main ‘political’ line.
In current Iraq, the democratically Shia President (whatever) has ignored the wellbeing of the Sunni and Kurds and snuggled up a bit too much to Shia Iran - so the domestic Sunni’s and Kurds already wary of their own Shia government - now have Iranian Shiites in as guests of their government, invited in to kill (Jihadi) Sunni’s.
So now the Iraqi Sunni’s (and Kurds) have to be concerned about Iraqi, and worse Iranian Shiites, declaring ‘open season’ on EVERY Sunni within Iraq they find, in the legitimate aim to purge Iraq of ISIS.
Somewhere, Iraq has just under 300,000 soldiers, to fight the ISIS hard nuts numbering no more than 10 to 20,000, but it seems beyond them to sort out an Iraqi force of Shiite soldiers, that will not sympathise with the disenfranchisement of Iraqi Sunni’s by their own government by deserting their posts, and fight for their own country.
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