(July 8, 2014) How to make sense of the different factions and forces now fighting in Syria and Iraq?
This article by Lawrence Solomon, a policy analyst with Probe International, first appeared in The Hill on July 2, 2014.
The conflict is best understood as a three-way war among ISIS (the radical Sunni offshoot of al Qaeda), moderate Sunnis, and Shiites.
In this war, ISIS, short for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which on Sunday renamed itself the Islamic State and announced that it has restored the caliphate, is fighting both the moderate Sunnis and the Shiites. The moderate Sunnis are fighting both ISIS and the Shiites. The Shiites are fighting both ISIS and the moderate Sunnis. In this three-way war, each of the three sides is vying for victory against the other two, and each also represents a much greater cause.
ISIS sees itself as al Qaeda’s successor to the jihadi mantle and its newly created Islamic caliphate as the ruler of Muslims everywhere.
This commentary continues in full at the publisher’s website here.
Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Probe International’s sister division Energy Probe, and a columnist with Canada’s National Post, is a contributor to the top U.S. political website, The Hill. Email him at LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com.
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