The catastrophic events in Iraq that are unfolding daily are more significant than at any point in recent memory. Catastrophes often make for unforeseen alliances and dramatic geopolitical policy shifts.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is now calling itself the Islamic State (IS), steamrolled out of Syria into Iraq and appeared to be unstoppable in its march to Baghdad. The Iraqi military, which was far larger and better armed, was either unable or unwilling to confront this ragtag, but determined, force of about 10,000 fighters. ISIS racked up major gains in mostly Sunni-controlled areas of the country, yet still threatens the Kurdish and Shia controlled areas.Along with its acquisition of land, which is estimated to be about 35,000 square miles or the size of Jordan, ISIS began to persecute minority Christians and Yazidi religious communities.