Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Blog #7

For this week, I focused on an article written by Rod Norland for the New York Times which focused on a recent victory by the Iraqi military over ISIS which forced the extremist group out of Tikrit. Tikrit had been one of the ISIS strongholds within Iraq and so the victory was significant in regards to reducing the influence of the extremist group within the nation. However, the nature of the battle and the aftermath was concerning in more ways than one.

            Despite significant air assistance by an international coalition including the United States, the militia and Iraqi military was extremely critical of the international involvement and even went so far as to claim that the United States was directly assisting ISIS with supplies. Many of the fighters interviewed completely denied the importance of international assistance instead focusing on their own efforts and giving thanks to God for their victory. However, as noted in the article, this may largely be a lasting consequence of pre-2011 conflicts between Iraq and the United States in which these same fighters recall fighting against the United States.
Even more concerning, the city was closed to journalists after the conflict and no prisoners were taken from the ISIS forces – instead, they were summarily killed by the militia forces as they swept through the city. When asked about these killings, militiamen argued that ISIS was the enemy and could not be trusted even once they surrendered – such concerns indicate the significance of the religious differences and the general fear  within the region that ISIS have invoked in pursuing an Islamic state.

            Although ISIS has certainly committed horrible civil rights abuses, many are concerned that abuses are being committed in the fight against ISIS as well by both international involvement and militia forces that operate for various Middle Eastern nations.


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