ISIS: Iraq Witnesses Terrorism on an Unprecedented Scale
Iraq is in the midst of a crisis once more, and the tremors are being felt all over the world. A terror regime has been unleashed across the country, and the ringleader is the new and relatively-unknown jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Their mission is to establish a purist Islamic state spanning Syria and Iraq. Several key Iraqi cities have already fallen to murderous attacks by the ISIS, and the group now controls oil refineries, banks, and military sites. Thousands of innocent civilians have perished in the carnage and countless others have been forced to flee their hometowns.
This, in a nutshell, is what is brewing in Iraq right now. But delve into the details of the situation, and you will realize that the events in Iraq have the potency to dissolve borders, destabilize power equations in the entire Middle East region, topple economies all over the world, and trigger a humanitarian crisis.
Meet the ISIS
The ISIS came into being in April 2013 as an offshoot of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Led by the enigmatic Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS is one of the principal rebel groups fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. However, the group is now more driven by its vision to carve out an Islamic empire. The ISIS, comprising Sunni Muslim extremists, also holds grievances against the present Shiite-led Iraqi government.
Baghdadi is reputed to be a brilliant battlefield commander and a strategist, and under him, the ISIS has achieved considerable military success. The ISIS rampage across Iraq leaves no doubt about their leader’s prowess.
Track the ISIS Advance in Iraq
When the Western world had been focusing on the tensions in Syria, ISIS was quietly making advances and taking over towns and cities in Iraq. In January 2014, they caught the government forces unaware and took over Fallujah in Anbar. It then bulldozed the Iraqi army and gained control of large parts of Ramadi. However, ISIS grabbed headlines all over the world when it took over Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, in June this year. Then Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birth town, fell to them. They have also gained access to the area around the Baiji oil refinery.
The ISIS is right now within striking distance of the Haditha dam, the second largest in the country. This recent development has evoked memories of the time when the Sunni militants took control of the Fallujah dam in April this year and released water from it to flood large areas downstream. Another wing of the ISIS jihadists is looking to push towards Baghdad; they have already gained control of large parts of Baquba, which is only 40 miles away from the Iraqi capital city.
How ISIS Threatens to Rattle Governments and Economies Around the World
The crisis in Iraq is threatening to tear apart the country and dissolve borders. It looks like four new states may be carved out from Iraq and Syria-Alawatistan ruled by Bashar al-Assad, a Sunnistan that will span from Syria to the flanks of Baghdad, a Shiitistan in southern Iraq, and an independent Kurdistan.
But much bloodbath will precede the break-up of Iraq and Syria. According to reports backed by the White House, Syria has launched aerial attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq. The United States and Iran have started assembling military personnel and equipment within Iraq’s borders.
The bloodshed in Iraq looks to snowball into a large-scale humanitarian crisis in no time at all. The ISIS advances across Iraq have left thousands dead. Many more people have been forced to leave their homes to escape the ISIS brutality; they are now refugees within their own country. In fact, United Nations officials stationed in the region fear that a refugee problem could soon erupt as the displaced and the dispossessed start to flee Iraq and spill into the neighboring countries.
The ongoing conflicts have already led to a breakdown of the healthcare and education systems of the country. An ISIS war strategy is to wrest control of power stations. So the ISIS-controlled regions of Iraq are now facing severe electricity shortage.
The crisis in Iraq not only threatens to destabilize the entire Arab world but also upset economies all over the world. The political uncertainty in the country, the growing fears over ISIS taking over the oil refineries, and the prospect of a divided Iraq have already sent oil prices skyrocketing. The price of oil is right now at an all-time high. An increase of just $10 will see growth rates tumbling down even in countries like the U.S.
Terrorism has a new face now. The emergence of ISIS and the crisis in Iraq prove once more that even with all the advances in science and technology, the human race can still be held in ransom by wielding a few Kalashnikovs. Is war the only answer to terrorism?