The Islamic state’s advance is big. They are destroying anything, even mosques that don’t conform with their puritanical brand of Islam. Forcing everyone, Muslims, Christians to convert to radicalism, or die.
What makes this advancing army different to others: they are brazenly documenting their own war crimes. Not just brutality that beggars belief, but a staggering statement they don’t ever expect to be held to account.
In January they consolidated their grip in the west of Iraq, reaching Fallujah, barely half an hours drive from the capital Baghdad.
In June, from their bases over the border in Syria they swept in to Iraq’s north.. taking the city of Mosul and Tal Afar, and then pushing further south contesting the oil rich town of Baiji and further towards Baghdad.
In the past week they’ve begun what appears to be a massive consolidation and new land grab in the north, forcing 200,000 minority Yazidi’s from their home in Sinjar here and contesting this strategic dam in the north, providing electricity to Mosul and other areas as well.
In the past few days, they uprooted more than 100,000 Christians from their ancient home town, forcing them towards Irbil. What is particularly worrying… the Islamic State’s gains over the past week have not been over the weak and ill disciplined Iraqi army that fled their advance earlier this year, but against the respected and strong Kurdish Peshmerger fighters.
The Islamic state in it’s own propoganda pictures can be seen raising it’s flag over former Kurdish HQ. it has the international community worried.
Not only have IS fighters become better experienced, more battle hardened, ideologically more passionate about the causes they are fighting for,they have also been picking up huge caches of weaponry.
The same pictures show the Islamic state advancing in an array of expensive new landcruisers, deploying rocket and mortar teams to back up the front line fighters, just like a regular army. And although we can not verify the pictures, they match what Kurdish officials are describing to CNN. Their agenda clear: exploit then consolidate.
Once it takes over areas. first and foremost, weapons cache, storage, ammunition and depots – then other sources of natural resources and power, whether it’s oil fields, or I said before, dams.
The test is going to be – if and for how long – Kurdish peshmerger forces can hold out, protecting not just their own region, but Iraq’s minorities, Christians among them.
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