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Oh dear Just when you thought the Iraq problem was solved

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because you havent heard about it for a while,
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everythings back to murderous chaos and terror.
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What happened?
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In 2003, the US invaded Iraq because of its alleged connections to terrorism
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and weapons of mass destruction.
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At the time, Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator, ruled the country.
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He was part of the Sunni minority
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and suppressed the Shia majority.
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Iraq was conquered fairly quickly,
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but the US had no plan for the country.
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The until-then suppressed Shia majority took over
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and began oppressing the Sunnis,
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because suppressing other faiths has proven to be such a good idea.
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Unsurprisingly, a Sunni rebel uprising began
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and terrorist groups, like al-Qaeda, trickled into Iraq
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and local forces, often former Sunni military, began
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fighting the US troops and the newly formed Iraqi state,
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peaking in a bloody civil war in 2006.
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Since then, people in Iraq have basically been segregated by religion.
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So, in a tragic irony of history, the US invasion led to the formation of


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the very terrorists the US wanted to eliminate in the first place,
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because Iraq was now the perfect training ground for terrorism.
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To understand this complicated conflict better, we need to understand
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the relationship between the two main branches of the Muslim faith:
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Shia and Sunni Islam.
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Sunnis make up about 80% of the Muslim world and Shia about 20%.
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And the hard-liners on both sides dont like each other very much.
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Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two most powerful players in the game of faiths.
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They both have no separation of state and religion, domestic problems, and
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a lot of oil money.
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And they support groups that fight the other religious orientation.
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And one of those terror organizations supported by Saudi Arabia
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was the Islamic State in Iraq, or ISI for short.
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In 2010, the Arab Spring happened
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In Syria, dictator Bashar al-Assad didnt think much of resigning
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and started a gruesome civil war against his own people.
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The longer the war went on, the more foreign groups joined the fight,
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most of them for religious reasons,
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and with the goal of building an Islamic state in the region.

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And one of them was the infamous ISI, which now became
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the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
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They had fought in Iraq for years, and had
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thousands of well-trained and fanatic soldiers.
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They already quasi-controlled parts of northern Iraq
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and were very determined to build their religious state.
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And they changed the game in Syria like no-one expected.
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ISIS was so unbelievably violent and radical that soon it was
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a war with almost every other faction ofthe Syrian rebel armies.
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They attacked and killed member of other Muslim terrorist groups.
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In the territories they controlled, they built an Islamic state
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with rules so strict that even the hard-liners of al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia
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were shocked and withdrew their support.
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ISIS has been accused of responsibility for multiple massacres against civilians
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countless suicide bombings, the hostage-taking of women and children,
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the execution of their prisoners, and beheadings.
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All kinds of medieval hororrs we wouldrather not have to illustrate.
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And this lovely gathering of human beings recently decided it was time to
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take more territory in Iraq.
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Since the US left Iraq, the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki,
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has monopolized power and discriminated against Sunnis wherever possible.
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The government of Iraq is widely regarded as being corrupt, incapable,
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and its cetainly hated by a large part of its citizens.
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The Iraqi army, consisting of about 300,000 soldiers,
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was created using 25 billion US dollars in tax money,
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but its not loyal to its government and
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has been withdrawing or completely disbanding, giving up city after city.
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Because ISIS has announced that everyone who opposes them will be killed,
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they have proven they mean business.
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By June 2014, theyd conquered a big chunk of Iraq,
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including Mosul, Iraqs second-largest city.
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Theyd stolen hundreds of millions from captured banks,
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making them the richest terror organization on Earth.
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And they are constantly working on establishing
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a super-medieval religious state.
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Iran and the US are even considering working together to fight them.
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Thats how gruesome the situation is.
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Events in Iraq show again that exploiting the people youve defeated in a war,
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denying them power, a living, and a stake in the rebuilding of the country
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is just sowing the seeds of the next bout of violence.


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Somehow, we have to break this circle.