When the US decided to invade Iraq, this move had the specific purpose of turning the country into a democratic and pluralistic state. Their expectation was that this democracy would not longer pose a threat to the United States, or any other country in the world. However, thirteen years down the line, the exact opposite has been achieved and Iraq has collapsed into three contending states, divided along ethnic lines: Sunni Shiite, and Kurd. ISIS, a Salafi jihadist militant group known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, controls one third of the country.
In the words of a captured jihadist soldier, neither the international coalition nor the entire world can eliminate the Islamic State. The Prophet Muhammad promised that a time would come when the people in Rome and Constantinople would be conquered. The goal is to conquer the entire world so that the Islamic Sharia Law rules the earth.
The men on the front line have been fighting for a year. They are willing to do whatever it takes to keep ISIS from invading their territory. They have lost men, and they are short on supplies and weapons, but they are willing to keep fighting.
But how exactly did Iraq end up becoming an Islamic State? According to Ryan Crocker, one of the most condecorated diplomats in US history, as bad as things were under Saddam Hussein they were never this bad. Crocker adds that Iraq exceeds his worst nightmare. Because of the ongoing violence, over three million people have fled their homes and many are living in makeshift camps where between 8 and 15 people live in a tent.
Many men are joining tribal fighting groups in their area in order to defend their homes, their tribes, their country, and their rights. They are all volunteers; they don’t receive a salary and barely have any weapons. Good soldiers donate uniforms and other equipment, but the men have to share guns because of their lack of supplies. With such little support, these men have learned to make do with whatever they can get their hands on. Sadly, after failing to get support from the US or from the government, many tribal leaders declare their allegiance to ISIS.
When asked if he thinks ISIS will win, another captured jihadist declares that they have great numbers and their strategy is strong so it will be very hard to defeat them.
VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting aggressively to defend their land. Anderson sits with the Russian military forces in Syria and meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan. Then he interviews US politicians to try to determine what it was that allowed the situation in Iraq to spin out of control. Watch this film now.