Two-and-a-half years after the United States withdrew from Iraq, the Middle Eastern country is in a state of crisis. Jihadist extremists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have taken over several cities in the north, Iraqi army officers have abandoned their posts, and people are fleeing the region by the hundreds of thousands. Iraqi Kurds have also taken over parts of the north, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been unable to gather enough parliamentarians to vote on declaring a state of emergency.
As the level of dysfunction around the country grows, there is increasing talk of international action, with Iran saying it will fight the terrorism being waged by ISIS and emerging reports that Maliki had previously asked the United States to consider airstrikes against extremist staging areas. While the U.S. government has so far rebuffed this request, President Obama recently said that he is looking at all options to help the Iraqi government, raising the question of what can, and should, be done to prevent ISIS from toppling any more cities and reaching Baghdad.
Please join New America’s International Security Program for a discussion about the current security situation in Iraq, as well as its impact on the greater Middle Eastern region.
Join the conversation online using #CrisisInIraq and following @NatSecNAF.
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Douglas A. Ollivant
Senior Vice President, Mantid International LLC Senior National Security Fellow, International Security Program, New America Former Director for Iraq, National Security Council
Dr. Nadia Oweidat
Senior Fellow, International Security Program, New America
Christopher L. Fussell
Partner, Director of Business Development, McChrystal Group Senior Fellow, International Security Program, New America
Managing Editor, New America