Four People to Blame for the Crisis in Iraq

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For Iraq, June has been the cruelest month. The jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made incredible gains in Iraq. On June 5, ISIS fighters briefly seized Samarra before being pushed back by Iraqi government forces. On June 10, ISIS seized

Iraq’s “second city,” Mosul, on the crossroads between Iraq and Syria, another area of operations for ISIS. On June 15, ISIS

claimed

to have captured and killed 1,700 Iraqi soldiers in Tal Afar. A few days later they attacked a major oil refinery north of Baghdad, one that was responsible for about 25 percent of the country’s domestic oil consumption. As Iraq verges on the brink of civil war, there’s a cornucopia of Iraqi and foreign figures who could be blamed for the unfolding disaster. Here are four:

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1. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

this guyIraq Interior Ministry

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—not his real name—is the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and as such, the primary blame for the crisis ISIS has precipitated in Iraq lies with him. Al-Baghdadi may have been a cleric in Samarra when the U.S. invaded in 2003 and according to a BBC report, he may have already been a radical then, or he may have been radicalized while spending four years at a U.S.-run prison for Al Qaeda commanders in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi became the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, one of the organizations that evolved into ISIS, in 2010. Al-Baghdadi has avoided the spotlight, unlike his predecessor, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a showman who was eventually traced down and killed by the U.S. in 2006. While ISIS may be linked to Al Qaeda, it has not been a subordinate. At The

Washington Post, David Ignatius reported that ISIS was “so toxic that it’s disowned by Al Qaeda and is feuding with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.” Al-Baghdadi is apparently even poaching jihadists from other Al Qaeda affiliates, including those in Yemen and Somalia.

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  • anon|6.26.14 @ 4:44PM|#

    It's -way- easier to blame Bush than some guy who's name I can't pronounce.

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  • anon|6.26.14 @ 4:45PM|#

    There are signs, too, that the Iraqi population that has found itself living in territory controlled by ISIS.

    Is this a land where airboats run free and gators don't exist?

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  • Fist of Etiquette|6.26.14 @ 4:49PM|#

    That comment is totally McQueen.

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  • |6.26.14 @ 4:48PM|#

    Ed Krayewski on Who's to Blame for Iraq

    Oh, I know this one! His mom?

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