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Iraq and Syria (CRS report and more…)

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Secrecy News

Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy, and More from CRS

The 2014 crisis in Iraq: Research perspectives and background

The traditional borders and spheres of influence of the nation of Iraq appear to be deteriorating and shifting, perhaps giving way to a new, unknown order in that vast region in the Middle East.
One of the primary forces driving these violent and chaotic changes is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or al-Sham (also referred to as ISIS, or ISIL), a jihadist Sunni group that has poured out of Syria and has advanced rapidly toward Baghdad and other cities. That group is led by Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, who has drawn together fighters from around the region — and Sunni sympathizers within Iraq — and organized a fighting force estimated at perhaps 7,000. While this figure is impressive, according to a 2013 report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Iraq’s Ministry of Defense has 279,103 personnel (primarily the army, air force and navy), while the Ministry of the Interior has 649,800 (local and federal police, as well as other units ) — a total of 933,103. Yet the insurgent fighters have succeeded in driving many Iraqi soldiers to desert posts and leave their command structures… MORE




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