What began as one of the many factions fighting in Syria has rapidly turned into one of the greatest threats to the Middle East since Al-Qaeda. Looks like Al-Qaeda is the inspiration for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in more ways than just philosophy.
Things have heated up significantly in recent days after ISIL made major gains in Iraq and captured Turkish diplomats in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The Daily Hurriyet reported that at this time, Turkey is seeking to engage ISIL diplomatically to try and secure their officials’ release. However, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ was quoted as saying that Turkey is “on alert.”
The US reacted to the incidents by condemning the abductions of Turkish personnel, as well as other attacks by ISIL. US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers said the ISIL violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul has “broad security implications for the country.”
That came one day after the US, in a State Department press release, addressed ISIL’s taking over of “significant parts” of Mosul. Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in the statement that Syria’s civil war has played a key role in ISIL’s rise.
“ISIL continues to gain strength from the situation in Syria, from which it transfers recruits, sophisticated munitions, and resources to the fight in Iraq,” said Psaki. “It should be clear that ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region.”
On Wednesday, reporters asked Psaki about US military assistance for Iraq in the battle with ISIL, including the use of drones. Psaki was noncommittal aside from citing their increased training and ongoing weapons shipments to Iraqi security forces, which were already happening. The US has been involved diplomatically with Iraq as well.
“We don’t discuss operational details along those lines, as you know,” a State Department press release quoted Psaki as saying. “I will say, as I noted, you can expect we will increase our assistance. I have nothing I can outline further on that front at this point.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 12, 2014)