On January 3, 2014, terrorist insurgent group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also sometimes called ISIL) declared the city of Fallujah to be an independent Islamic State. ISIS defeated the American-trained Iraq Security Forces in Fallujah and Ramadi, and took control of the two cities. Since January, ISIS has gained control of many cities in Iraq’s Anbar province. ISIS has been on a major offensive, gaining control of Mosul on June 10th and Tikrit on June 11th. On June 15th, ISIS took the city of Tal Afar in the Nineveh Province.
While the American-trained Iraqi Security Forces and local militias are attempting to defeat the insurgents, ISIS and other insurgent groups continue the land-grab of cities in Iraq. Politicians are debating the best course of action for providing aid to Iraq, all the while Veterans are shaking their heads.
The possibility of heading into another war in Iraq is not appealing to anyone, but many Veterans feel that American forces should never have left. In light of recent events, many Iraq Veterans feel that that their task of stabilizing Iraq had been completed, leaving them thinking that their struggle may have been in vain.
December, 2011 saw the process of U.S. force withdrawal in Iraq completed. Since that time, Iraq, the country that our Veterans helped liberate, whose army they helped train, and whose people they sacrificed for, have been losing ground to ISIS.
ISIS is a jihadist militant group that is based in Iraq and Syria. ISIS had links to al-Qaeda, even swearing allegiance to them in 2004. ISIS members fought alongside al-Qaeda against American forces and their allies in Iraq. Due to a power struggle with al-Qaeda, ISIS branched out on its own, and the two terrorist groups have cut ties with one another.
Many Veterans were not happy with the decision to pull out of Iraq. Veterans felt that the country that they left was too unstable to stand on its own, and predicted that a succeeding generation might have to return to Iraq, just as their generation had to do after Desert Storm.
So far, President Obama and his cabinet appear to be adamant that the U.S. will not be sending ground combat forces back into Iraq. However, airstrikes and consulting role deployments have not been ruled out.
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Military Connection: More Trouble in Iraq: BY Debbie Gregory