Will ISIS take over Iraq

Iraq and Isis: The Jihadist regime of terror

The terror warriors of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria (Isis) are taking over cities and large swathes of land in Iraq at high speed; they are close to Baghdad. Where the Islamists have power, they establish a regime of terror.

Photos from Kirkuk Province show captured Iraqi soldiers in plain clothes as they are executed with headshots. A video shows warriors who lead more than 4,000 soldiers and police officers into captivity on a long train near Tikrit. The fate of the men is unclear; according to an Iraqi intelligence officer, many have now been executed.

In Mosul, the jihadists distributed leaflets with their strict Sharia rules. Smoking and drinking are forbidden, women should "stay indoors and not go out on the streets unless it is absolutely necessary".

The leaflet threatens all state officials with execution if they do not regret what they have done. Eyewitnesses said that the fighters now combed apartment blocks with lists of names of police officers and officials. Some who meet them are shot immediately, others are spared if they swore a public oath of repentance.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay made harsh allegations against the Stone Age Islamists. There is an alarming increase in executions and arbitrary killings. "I am particularly concerned about the dangerous situation of minorities, women and children." In Mosul, for example, four women committed suicide after being raped and forcibly married by Isis fighters.

Possible US-Iranian cooperation

The triumphant advance of the Islamists even makes military cooperation between Iran and the USA possible. While Isis is preparing its storm on Baghdad, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said he was not ruling out cooperation with the US army on Iraqi soil.

US President Barack Obama is still hesitant, but has already categorically ruled out the use of ground troops. He expressly made military intervention dependent on the Iraqi government being more willing to compromise and less discriminatory towards the Sunni minority in the future. First, the Pentagon moved an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

The authoritarian and arbitrary actions of the Shiite head of government Nuri al-Maliki against the Sunnis contributed significantly to the spectacular collapse of the Iraqi army in front of the approaching Isis fighters. According to American media reports, Maliki had been urging the Pentagon for months without success to bomb the desert camps of the holy warriors in the Mosul region with drones or fighter planes as long as Iraq did not have a fully operational air force.

So far, Baghdad has only operated combat helicopters and small turboprop machines that can also fire missiles. F-16 fighter jets have been ordered but not yet delivered. The Iraqi air reconnaissance also lacks the capacity to quickly locate the highly mobile convoys of the jihadists and to direct the pilots to the appropriate locations.

Battle for the Golden Mosque

Meanwhile, Maliki drove to Samarra to assure the local army units of his support. The extremists had already tried twice in the past ten days to conquer the city, 110 kilometers from Baghdad. The Al-Askari Shrine in the Golden Mosque is one of the most important Shiite shrines there.

The Sunni Isis fighters want to destroy the church. It has a high symbolic meaning for Iraq. An al Qaeda bomb attack on the Golden Mosque in February 2006 sparked a two-year civil war with almost 60,000 dead. At the weekend, the black Isis attackers again gathered countless vehicles and fighters around Samarra to attempt a third attack.

Baghdad was also preparing to attack. Residents piled groceries in their apartments. Police and military patrolled the neighborhoods, and according to eyewitnesses, the checkpoints on all arterial roads were significantly strengthened. In Sadr-City, the Shiite part of town with two million inhabitants, the residents formed vigilante groups and set up weapons depots.

The spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shiites, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on the population to arm themselves in order to defend "their country, their people and their holy places" against the Sunni extremists. Long lines of young men waited in front of the recruitment offices of various Shiite militias. Thousands of volunteers also volunteered for service in the army.