July 10, 2014

Understanding ISIS

Featuring John A. Nagl

Source: Flint Magazine

Journalist Jacob Diliberto

Bellicose Hawks and savvy political commentators are appearing across the media claiming to have pan-optical vision for the present morass in Iraq. Al-Qaeda in Iraq or now called, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is patrolling the north and east of Iraq and are looking more akin to a uniformed army than a terrorist group. In the past months, ISIS took over Fallujah, and in the recent days, ISIS has taken over Mosul and Tal Afar. This hell on earth is ripping Iraq apart, and the systematic execution of the Iraqi army is making the security crisis even worse.

The headlines indicate the pro interventionist political class is haranguing the drumbeats for US intervention.  This time, the solution being proposed is to BOMB something or someone.  This week, many of the architects of the Iraq war are insisting US airstrikes will assist in stabilising Iraq.  Like a child throwing a temper tantrum, Paul Bremmer, John McCain, the neo-cons, and pro-war advocates argue that bombing will bring stability.

This is an apparent and selective memory from 2003 that has proven to be an episodic reoccurring theme.  In large part, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 set off Sunni/Shiite sectarian divides and systematically broke Iraq. Starting with Ambassador Bremmer’s infamous deBaathification, the origin of the Sunni insurgency was born.  In addition, the sectarian tensions between Iraq and Iran was proliferated, and now the region suffers from the perils of the US intervention.

Read the full article at Flint Magazine.


  • John A. Nagl

    CNAS Board of Advisor, Headmaster, The Haverford School

    Dr. John Nagl is the ninth Headmaster of The Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania and a member of the Board of Advisors at the Center for a New American Security. He wa...