The phenomenal rise of ISIS and the ensuing rout of the Iraqi Army and its Shia militias has shaken the world. Only a fool would dismiss ISIS as just another radical Islamist group terrorizing the masses. In fact, they enjoy widespread popular support amongst the local Iraqi Sunni community, which although doesn’t agree with their Salafist ideology but still supports them as they see ISIS as their only defense against the Shia militias. It is impossible for ISIS to hold territory greater than the size of Britain without this crucial support.
If anyone is to be blamed for the mess in Iraq right now, It is the former Prime Minister and Iranian puppet Noura al Maliki whose sectarian policies alienated the local Sunni population and forced them to join the ranks of such an extremist group. In his regime, random Sunni men were picked from the streets and executed. Baghdad, which historically has been a Sunni stronghold, experienced a change in demographics and the Sunni’s which were a majority there during Saddam Hussein’s era have now been reduced to a minority. It is said that ISIS is actually controlled by former Ba’ath leaders who served under Saddam Hussein. An example is General Izzat Ebrahim ad Douri who was Saddam’s, right-hand man. General Douri’s group,”The Naqshbandi Army” is openly allied with ISIS and taking an active part in their operations on the ground.
At this very moment, the Islamist militants are on the offensive and in control of most of Iraq’s northern regions including about 80 % of Anbar province. While the focus of the world seems to be on the Kurdish town of Kobane in Northern Syria, ISIS is gaining ground fast in Iraq and recapturing territory it lost months ago to the Kurds.
Whether the International Coalition assembled against ISIS succeeds or not remains to be seen but one thing is certain, the American equipped and trained Iraqi Army has been humbled and devastated facing a moral problem and on multiple fronts giving up without a fight. All have genuinely given up on a hope of a united Iraq and the country now is divided in all but name.