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The Incredible Shrinking Caliphate

November 4, 2016
Plain English Version


A caliphate was the goal of radical Muslims. From the caliphate, they would conquer the world. They made Mosul, Iraq the capital of the caliphate. Ahead was victory over the infidels.

Not so fast. Mosul is now under siege from a group of nations. America leads with air power. America backs the forces on the ground.

The campaign could not be more complex. Troops from Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and America are there. Kurds are also part of the battle. There is resistance. The Islamic terrorists are using residents as human shields. They have set booby-traps.

They know they are in trouble. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi broke his year-long silence. He asked his followers to fight. He told them to, “Decimate their territories. Make their blood flow like rivers.”

Much of the Muslim religious world is divided between Shiites and Sunnis. They are religious enemies when they are not friends and neighbors. In Iraq they lived together in communities. When the US brought war to Iraq they split into rival camps. The US tried to unite the country. It succeeded. Iraq formed a new government. Most of the leaders were Shiite. They soon began to persecute the Sunnis.

The US left Iraq at the end of 2011. Many say this was the beginning of the terrorist Islamic State. Sunnis have differing views. Some support the Islamic State. Many just want peace. It appears unlikely that they will get their own homeland. The hope is they can be part of an Iraq that supports religious freedom.

The Middle East is a great puzzle. People know there is a solution. But they also know that religion and patriotism play a big role. For example, the Turks fear and loathe the Kurds. Both the Turks and the Kurds know they have to defeat the Islamic State. Some alliances are born, and some die.

Most observers agree on one thing. Forming and running a new state will be harder than defeating the Islamic State.

Source: The Wall Street Journal November 3, 2016

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