Desperate Iraqis at a displacement camp near Mosul, Iraq

The Islamist militant group ISIS declared Sunday that it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, within the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. The word is evocative of the rise of Islam during the Middle Ages when the Prophet Muhammad’s followers conquered large swathes of territory. We’ll discuss ISIS’s latest move and how it might impact the region.

Richard Barrett, former director of global counterterrorism operation for Britain's MI6
Aaron Zelin, Richard Borow fellow at the Washington Institute

  • Guest

    Most likely ISIS is just a branch of the CIA, as Alqéda is. The 0.01% couldn’t control the Middle East by bómbing people into submission with the USA’s military so now it’s using the CIA-based ISIS to terrorize people into submission.

  • Chris OConnell

    In Syria, ISIS has been the most extreme group fighting the government. What is happening in Iraq is a little different. I don’t think they could take over so much territory without moderating and forming coalitions, could they? But there has been a lot of fear mongering, as if today it is Mosul and tomorrow it is Missouri.

    It is disturbing how the ground has been laid for bombing this group in Iraq. Here is a group of people in a war-torn region taking control of where they live. Yes, they are religious zealots. (They can join a very long line in that tradition). Yes, they have delusions of world domination. But since we fear that one day they will secure some control in Iraq and then plot to attack us, we have to bomb and kill them now. Many have called for immediate airstrikes. Is not that quite extreme thinking? It seems that we are the ones plotting to kill them with advisers serving as a prelude to airstrikes, and yet the whole crisis is framed as them plotting to kill us!

    • thucy

      “as if today it is Mosul and tomorrow it is Missouri.”

      Joseph Heller couldn’t have said it better.

  • Chris OConnell

    I have noticed a phenomenon with Syria that is hard to reconcile. We know that it has been a brutal war with huge number of casualties. Since Syria is a hostile country vis a vis the US, there have been universal denunciations of the butcher Assad. The US policy is that he must go. All the leading politicians and experts tell us how he must go. Many advocate direct US military action of no-fly zones and airstrikes.

    Yet if a Muslim goes to Syria to fight against Assad, he is a terrorist. He presents a great threat to the West. It is like: “We non-Muslims can take action against Assad but you can’t!” Of course, I understand the concern here but it does show what a mixed-up and muddled policy we have on Syria. Post Cold War, is Syria our enemy only because of the Golan Heights? Does the tail wag the dog?

  • Jonnie

    But Islam is a religion of peace…isn’t that what all the libs and multiculturalists keep trying to sell us!

  • menloman

    Considering the rapid sprad of radical islam in Africa, Northern Africa, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Yemen, is it time to acknowledge that Glenn Beck was right when he predicted just that during the Arab Spring?

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor