The attacks by ISIS in the past week indicate that it will expand its operations throughout the region and globally during Ramadan. In all likelihood these operations, which will include attacks against U.S. interests in the region, will intensify on or around the Eid-al-Fitr, which is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal. This year Eid falls on 18 July, and we can expect that the bloodiest campaign can be launched between 15 and 29 July, which marks one-year anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate by ISIS in Iraq and the Levant.
Knowing the brutality of ISIS and how it capitalizes and builds on its past successes, we may expect it to undertake more and increasingly brutal attacks in July. ISIS has already employed chemical weapons in operations in northern Iraq and there are indications that they have the capability, not to mention the will, to use a “dirty bomb.” In light of the fact that ISIS has penetrated KRG security at will and attacked the U.S. Consulate in Irbil/Ankawa (the KRG capital) it should come as no surprise if and when they duplicate their efforts against one of the more “stable” regions in Iraq.
Given these threats from ISIS, Christian Assyrians in Iraq must ask the Iraqi government and the KRG: What are you doing to secure the Assyrian community from further conventional attacks and also from possible future chemical attacks against their refugee camps and populations in the Nineveh Plains and Irbil/Ankawa?
In the past KRG has complained to the U.S. State Department that they do not have the weapons and support they need from the U.S to defend the citizens under their administrative control. Another question the Assyrians need to ask the KRG is how much U.S. taxpayer money is enough for the KRG to begin securing the areas under its administrative control?
In the U.S. Army we learned that success–i.e., accomplishing your mission while taking care of your people–is contingent on providing and exercising decisive leadership. We have a saying: “Mission first and people always!” Has anyone over the past ten years seen this motto applied in Iraq? We feel compelled to ask Iraqi and KRG leaders why, if they are not capable of administering the region, should the people in that region continue to rely on Iraqi and Kurdish forces to defend them?
Perhaps Americans should ask the same questions. Some of the questions which have still gone unanswered by the leadership that is asking for more money and support from the United States and the world are: Why did KRG think it was a good idea to declare independence and separate from Iraq on the same day that ISIS overran Mosul? Why did the Iraq’s Shia generals abandon the battlefield in Mosul in 2014, flying back to Baghdad while ISIS was killing Iraqi citizens in the north? Why were the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces unable to prevent ISIS from establishing a foothold in Iraq after receiving more than a trillion dollars in American aid over the course of ten years? Why did fellow Sunni Kurds join ISIS in Kobani and why are they still supporting ISIS in their most recent attacks conducted in Kobani? Why did a large number of Sunni Kurds from the religious department in KRG join ISIS earlier this year? Why are Sunni Kurds who have served in the Peshmerga joining ISIS? Why could the KRG not secure the American Consulate in Ankawa? Why did the Christians lose over 70 plus of their churches in the KRG administered territories to bombings from January 2004- August 2014?
Iraq cannot exist in its present form if ISIS is allowed to prosper in the region. Let’s hope the State Department and the politicians who have hitched their wagons to certain leaders in Iraq and in the KRG understand this before ISIS begins full-scale operations on American soil.