News / Middle East

Iraqi Militants Make Gains Aided by Local Tribal Support

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in Mosul, June 23, 2014.
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in Mosul, June 23, 2014.

As Iraq's Sunni militants and their allies add border crossings near Syria and Jordan to their list of captured territory, many observers wonder what’s next.  U.S. officials have warned that the militants, from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), could spread into Jordan, while some see them moving toward the Iraqi capital. Some analysts say ISIL's strategy is just part of the group's greater agenda of erasing modern borders and building a caliphate across the whole region.

The takeover of the Traibil border post with Jordan and the Al-Wajeed entry point to Syria were part of the ISIL’s primary agenda of creating a cross-border state, according to Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow at the New America Foundation.

"ISIL does not want to take over Iraq as it is currently constructed. In fact, I think that ISIL is probably going to be perfectly content not to try its hardest to take over Baghdad. I think what ISIL is looking to do is create a jihadi state in the primarily Sunni areas of western and northern Iraq and into eastern Syria," says Fishman.

Fishman says the way the militants will carry out their strategy can be seen from how they operated in Syria.  ISIL is fighting in the country’s civil war and has taken control of towns along Syria’s eastern border.

"This is not a group that has tried to go on the offense against Damascus. This is not a group that is trying to dominate every square inch of Syria. And they’re going to do the same thing in Iraq. They’re going to say: What can we control? Where can we dominate? Where can we establish governance?  And, where can we establish a base of operations for the long term?" – says Fishman.

Success through alliances

Part of ISIL’s success, according to Fishman, lies in its ability to form alliances with local Sunni militias, tribal groups and other organizations, one of the most surprising being the Naqshbandi army, a group closely associated with the remnants of the Iraqi Baath party of Saddam Hussein’s old regime.

"This is not a natural alliance. Jihadis and the old Iraqi Baath party don’t like each other. They have very, very different ideologies, very different ideas of who should be in charge and what the rules for society ought to be. And yet they’ve been able to cooperate, it seems in recent days, for this military offensive," says Fishman.

He says the best way to attack ISIL is not through military actions but by breaking the political alliances that have given it strength.

"It was losing those alliances originally that weakened the group in 2007 and it is regaining them; that has given it renewed strength today," says Fishman.

U.S. officials are urging Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a new, inclusive government that will encourage the country’s Sunni population to re-assess and potentially break their allegiances with the militant group.

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said these new alliances could potentially affect military efforts in the country.

"So there's a window of opportunity here, I think, to get the Sunnis to re-assess. If you could find a new government that they felt hopeful about, I think we could form an alliance politically and militarily that would affect the momentum on the ground," says Graham.

Maliki has rejected the calls, saying any new government that ignores the results of the country's April election would be a “coup against the constitution and the political process.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a recent visit to Iraq that support from the U.S., which is sending 300 military advisers, will be intense, sustained, and effective if Iraq's leaders take the necessary steps to bring the country together.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Moustafa from: Jordan
June 25, 2014 7:15 PM
All Iraqi to the leader were terrorist, USA train terrorist in Iraq, after training turn the gun back to USA.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid