The 2014 Northern Iraq Offensive is a major attack in the northern region of Iraq by militant group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (sometimes referred to as ISIL), and their aligned forces against the Iraqi government.
ISIS, translated as either the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, are the perpetrators of this new conflict to have arisen in Iraq. The group themselves, lead by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, are an active jihadist militant group present in Iraq and Syria that, up until 2014, had close links with terrorist group al-Qaeda. However, in 2014, al-Qaeda cut all ties to the group on grounds of them being “too extreme”.
The group’s original goal was to establish a caliphate, an Islamic state with a supreme leader known as a caliph – a ‘successor’ to Mohammed, located in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. However, as a result of the group’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, ISIS now also desire to include the Sunni-majority regions of Syria into this proposed caliphate.
The possibility of a Second Iraq War was hinted at recently by major Western powers. America originally stated, on 12 June, that they were exploring all options to save the Iraqi security forces. Simultaneously US companies began withdrawing hundreds from a major air base in the area. On the same day US Senator Lindsey Graham warned that ISIS control in Iraq and Syria would create a “hell on earth” and called for immediate US air support to “change the battlefield equation”.
However, despite this claim by the US Senator, on the 13 June Barack Obama stated that the United States “will not be sending troops back to Iraq” and instead was looking to other alternatives as well as calling to Iraq’s neighbouring countries to help out. Contradicting this claim however, on 16 June, Obama notified Congress to inform them that 275 soldiers and marines could easily be deployed to combat the ISIS movements, with 160 of the troops already in the country and 100 others stationed in a nearby country.