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Tuesday, 23rd September 2014

The “Islamic State” Crisis and U.S. Policy

Source: Congressional Research Service via Federation of American Scientists

From Summary:

The Islamic State is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that has expanded its control over areas of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria since 2013, threatening the security of both countries and drawing increased attention from the international community. There is debate over the degree to which the Islamic State organization might represent a direct terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. facilities and personnel in the region.

The Islamic State (IS) was initially part of the insurgency against coalition forces in Iraq and has in the years since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal from Iraq expanded its control over areas of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria. The Islamic State has thrived in the disaffected Sunni tribal areas of Iraq and in the remote provinces of Syria torn by the civil war. In the summer of 2014, Islamic State-led forces, supported by Sunni Arab tribalists and groups linked to ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, advanced along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, seizing multiple population centers including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Since then, IS forces have massacred Iraqi civilians, often from ethnic or religious minorities, and recently executed two American journalists who had been held in captivity. The Islamic State’s tactics have drawn the ire of the international community, increasing U.S. attention on Iraq’s political problems and on the civil war in Syria.

On September 10, President Obama announced a multifaceted strategy to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State organization. The announced strategy is for the United States to lead and expand a multilateral coalition that will undertake direct military action, provide support for partner ground forces in Iraq and Syria, gather and share intelligence and use financial measures to try to progressively shrink the geographic and political space, manpower, and financial resources available to the Islamic State. The Administration and its allies all have ruled out deploying combat forces to either Iraq or Syria.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

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