ISIS insurgency in Iraq and Syria

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The group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni off-shoot of al-Qaeda attempting to create a new Islamic state, free of the leadership of the region's Shiite governments.[1] After ISIS took control of large portions of both Iraq and Syria, the U.S., under orders from President Barack Obama first ordered support troops be sent to Iraq in order to help coordinate defenses around Baghdad and secure American locations in the region. The first bombing raid in Iraq by the U.S. began on August 8, 2014 and international coalition air strikes expanded to cover Syria on September 23. The administration and Congress also agreed on additional funding for the training of Syrian rebels to prevent American and coalition troops from having to engage in combat.

In an effort to dissuade western countries from getting involved, ISIS members released public videos of three beheadings, including two Americans, James Foley and Steven Sotloff. The third was a British aid worker, David Haines.

Background

Following the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, the Iraqi security forces were not well-trained or well-equipped enough to stave off ISIS, which had grown in power due to their actions in the civil war in neighboring Syria. In 2012, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq claimed, "if the Iraqi security forces are not able to put pressure on them, they could regenerate." ISIS' recruiting methods were made easier due to Prime Minister Maliki's use of power in suppressing Sunni dissent and taking political prisoners.[2] In 2014, following a period of poor relations with ISIS, al-Qaeda "disowned" the group after more than a decade of cooperation.[3]

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took control of the group in 2010. Baghdadi spent four years in a U.S. insurgent prison from 2005 to 2009 for his ties to al-Qaeda, creating valuable connections with fellow prisoners before joining and then leading ISIS. When he first took control of the group, it was operated in a way similar to organized crime syndicates, staying spread out and layered, to stay protected. However, over time ISIS has grown into a much larger-scale operation which takes control of large territories. By taking and holding territory, prison breaks helped boost manpower, captured military bases provided them with weaponry and strongholds and they took cash reserves from banks to help finance themselves. They also rely on some wealthy donors throughout the region.[2]

The goal of ISIS was to create an Islamic state for Sunni muslims where Sharia law can be enforced, uniting parts of Iraq and Syria where the Sunni minorities live. The Soufan Group, a political risk consultant firm, stated, "ISIS has become indisputably the most effective and ruthless terrorist organization in the world."[2]

Civilian death toll

The United Nations estimated that between January 1 and June 30, 2014, more than 5,500 civilians were killed in the ISIS offensive with more than 11,000 others injured. The toll is on pace to be much higher than the 7,800 civilians killed in the conflict in 2013. Another 1.2 million Iraqis had been forced from their homes at the time of the report. The report also examined the "systematic and egregious violations" of international law and war crimes including sexual violence, kidnappings, murders and attacks on religious worship locations.[4]

Timeline

See also: ISIS insurgency timeline

Following is a basic timeline of events throughout the ISIS insurgency in Iraq and Syria, including events in two countries as well as American responses to those events. For a complete explanation of events, visit the ISIS insurgency timeline page.

Legal authority for air strikes

On September 12, 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration believed both the 2001 authorization of force against those responsible for the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent 2002 authorization for the war in Iraq were enough to avoid the hurdle posed by the War Powers Act. Under the War Powers Act, any military actions not approved by Congress within 60 days, must halt at the close of that period. The Iraq resolution, in particular, provided statutory authority for air strikes. A senior administration official explained, "The president may rely on the 2001 A.U.M.F. as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he is directing. As we have explained, the 2002 Iraq A.U.M.F. would serve as an alternative statutory authority basis on which the president may rely for military action in Iraq. Even so, our position on the 2002 A.U.M.F. hasn’t changed and we’d like to see it repealed."[32]

Some members of Congress dispute that the president has the authority to carry out the air strikes. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) insisted that a vote be taken, stating, "People have some legitimate questions. We ought to ask the questions before we get involved, rather than, you know, once we're in the middle of something." McGovern passed a bill in July 2014, that read no forces could be deployed or maintained in Iraq without "specific statutory authorization for such use." However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would not support a push to vote, explaining, "Hopefully, we don't have to go beyond what the president is doing now [and] we don't need that vote. But we stand ready to have that discussion." Other members of Congress urging a vote included, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), John Garamendi (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Jim McDermott (D-WA).[33]

Coalition members

The Saudi Arabian government agreed on September 10, 2014, to host Syrian rebels in order to train and equip them for the fight against ISIS. President Obama asked Congress for $500 million to fund the training and equipment. A senior administration official stated, "We certainly are challenging members of Congress to put aside their partisan affiliations and give the president the authority he needs."[34]

The administration chose retired Marine General John Allen to lead and coordinate the coalition forces fighting ISIS. He was previously the top American commander in Afghanistan, and he served in Iraq prior to that. When asked about ISIS in an August 2014 interview, Allen said, "What we’re facing in northern Iraq is only partly a crisis about Iraq,” he added. “It is about the region and potentially the world as we know it."[35]

The administration announced on September 15, 2014, there would be no military coordination with Iran in regard to the coalition's plan to destroy ISIS. A State Department official explained, "I am not going to outline every diplomatic discussion. But we are not and will not coordinate militarily. We will be continuing those talks on the nuclear issue later this week in New York. There may be another opportunity on the margins in the future to discuss Iraq." Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke out against the coalition, stating, "American officials' comments on forming an anti-Islamic State (alliance) are blank, hollow and self-serving, and contradictions in their behaviours and statements attest to this fact."[36]

Following is a list of coalition members and their contributions.

  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed on September 13, 2014, to provide aircraft and military advisers to the effort, but stated no ground forces would be provided.[37]
  • Iraqi President al-Abadi pledged to continue fighting ISIS as well as halt indiscriminate bombings of areas held by the group in an effort to regain the trust of sunni muslims who were previously alienated from the government.[38]

ISIS cash flow cutoff

It was reported on September 13, 2014, that the administration was attempting to cut off the cash flow of ISIS by talking with the Turkish government. ISIS, one of the most well-funded terrorist groups in history, established a system of sending Iraqi oil across the border to Turkey where the oil is sold on the black market. Turkish government officials said they could not openly be involved with the fight against ISIS because the group held 49 Turkish diplomats hostage in Iraq. The government also turned down the opportunity to sign a resolution in Saudi Arabia condemning ISIS under the same pretext. A senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) commented on the difficult situation posed by Turkey's lack of action, stating, "Turkey in many ways is a wild card in this coalition equation. It’s a great disappointment: There is a real danger that the effort to degrade and destroy ISIS is at risk. You have a major NATO ally, and it is not clear they are willing and able to cut off flows of funds, fighters and support to ISIS." The administration did not rule out bombing the oil shipments while they're en route to Turkey, noting that the shipments were tracked, but due to the sensitive nature of Turkey's situation, the Obama administration shied away from public criticisms.[39]

Estimates on the amount of oil produced by Iraqi wells range from 25,000 to 40,000 barrels per day, which could bring as much as $2 million in return on the black market. In addition to the oil smuggling, ISIS imposed taxes on businesses in their territories of between 10 and 20 percent of their daily profits which was estimated to be worth as much as $1 million per day.[39] A September 11, 2014 estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency placed between 20,000 and 31,500 members of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The numbers were higher than the previous estimate of 10,000, with the groups successes in the two countries helping recruitment.[40]

Costs

Starting June 15, 2014, military operations in Iraq cost an average of $7.5 million per day, according to an August 29, 2014 report by the Pentagon press secretary. The spokesperson stated on the $562 million price tag on the operation to that point, "As our [operational tempo] and our activities have intensified, so, too, has the cost. It changes every day."[41]

Possible ramifications

Three nations

Kurdish defenders of northern Iraq believed the country was on track to split back into three territories, as it was prior to the British uniting the territories into modern day Iraq. One colonel, defending the makeshift border, stated, "When the British set up this country in the 1920s they didn't do a good job. Before they were three provinces – Baghdad, Mosul and Basra. I think it will be three provinces again. History will go back to its original format." The Kurdish forces have been slowly staking out the territory where their people, as well as Christians, Yazidis, Turkmens and Arabs, live along with oil rich locations in the area. On July 11, 2014, they announced their withdrawal from the Iraqi government, choosing instead to attempt to defend their own borders from the ISIS threat.[42]

Involvement in Syria

Because ISIS was making advances in both Iraq and Syria, the Obama administration did not rule out air strikes in Syria in an effort to rid the Middle East of ISIS. Surveillance flights began on August 26, 2014, over Syria to get a grasp on the group's pressure in the country. While bombings of ISIS locations in Syria would potentially help Syrian Prime Minister Bashar al-Assad in his regime's civil war, administration officials were quick to point out that no alliances would be made, with White House press secretary Josh Earnest stating, "We are not interested in trying to help the Assad regime." British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond reiterated Earnest's statement, explaining, "We may very well find that we are fighting, on some occasions, the same people that [Assad] is but that doesn't make us his ally. It would not be practical, sensible or helpful to even think about going down that route."[21]

Assad's foreign minister warned the United States about unauthorized air strikes, claiming, "Any strike which is not coordinated will be considered as aggression." President Obama met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on August 25, 2014, to discuss the possibilities of expanding the air strikes into Syria. Dempsey commented, "Can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organisation which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border."[21] Syrian rebel forces, the Free Syrian Army also warned the United States against air strikes but from the standpoint that the air strikes would do too little, merely agitating ISIS. A spokesperson explained, "Airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria will not be helpful. Airstrikes will not get rid of ISIS. Airstrikes are like just tickling ISIS."[43]

As of August 25, 2014, ISIS had taken over three Syrian military bases, including an air base, and held the entire province of Raqqa, which borders Turkey.[44]

On September 10, 2014, President Obama announced permission for the bombing of ISIS locations in Syria.[25] He did acknowledge, according to the New York Times on September 13, 2014, that if American fighter planes were fired upon by the Assad regime, the United States would proceed to bomb all of Syria's ground-to-air missile defense systems, and Assad would possibly be forced out of his leadership position.[45]

U.S. border crossing

See also: 2014 illegal immigration surge

In an exchange between Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Francis Taylor, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, on September 10, 2014, McCain questioned whether ISIS, was attempting to cross the southern border of the U.S. in order to carry out terrorist attacks. While Taylor pointed out to the Washington Free Beacon, "There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL to attempt to cross the southern border," the discussion between he and McCain revealed social media exchanges encouraging ISIS militants to cross the border into the country. McCain was not satisfied with Taylor's confidence that border intelligence would halt any such attempts, leading Taylor to state, "If I gave you the impression I thought the border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risks coming across the state that’s not what I meant to say."[46]

DOJ local counterterrorism program

Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new program on a September 15, 2014 video address that the department was teaming up with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the White House and the National Counterterrorism Center to form a program that would provide local religious and civic leaders the ability to provide information about religious extremists the leaders deem may be involved in terrorist activities. Holder explained further, stating, "We have established processes for detecting American extremists who attempt to join terror groups abroad. And we have engaged in extensive outreach to communities here in the U.S. — so we can work with them to identify threats before they emerge, to disrupt homegrown terrorists, and to apprehend would-be violent extremists."[47]

While the number of Americans fighting alongside ISIS was unknown as of September 15, 2014, two were confirmed dead from air strikes in Iraq with total estimates ranging from 12 to 100.[47]

Legislation proposed

Syrian rebel training funding

House Republicans announced a stopgap funding bill on September 15, 2014, delaying the need to pass a full federal budget until December 11, 2014. It would also provide funding for the training of Syrian rebel forces. The bill, produced by the Armed Services Committee, focuses heavily on the tracking of the number of trainees and weapons, how well the trainees do on the battlefield and whether the trainees have terrorist ties. Whether or not they have terrorist ties would not exclude a person from being trained, however, because it could make it more difficult to recruit trainees. It also laid out the type of equipment that would be provided to the rebels. An aide commented on the arms, stating that the U.S. was providing them for the purpose of being "effective on the ground but not equipping them to be a long-term threat to the U.S. and its allies." [48]

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would be required to provide 15 days notice prior to the start of the program and give Congress full reports every 90 days. Because the bill is a stopgap funding bill, the funding provided by it was set to end on either December 11, 2014, or when the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act was passed.[48] White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest commented on the administration's push to get Congress to pass the bill, stating, "We’ve seen public statements from Democrats and Republicans in senior positions both in the House and the Senate indicate that they support giving the administration the necessary authority to ramp up our assistance to the Syrian opposition by training and equipping them. So we’re gratified by that show of bipartisan public support for this urgent priority."[49]

Bill's passage

The Syria amendment to the stopgap continuing resolution was passed by the House on September 17, 2014, by a vote of 273-156 allowing the training and arming of Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS. While the majorities of both parties voted in support of the bill's passage, 85 Democrats and 71 Republicans voted against the measure.[50][51] The bill reached the Senate on September 18, where it passed by a vote of 78-22. Below is the list of senators voting in opposition to the bill, like in the House, a bipartisan group.[52]

Democratic Party Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Democratic Party Mark Begich (D-AK)

Democratic Party Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Democratic Party Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Democratic Party Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Democratic Party Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Democratic Party Ed Markey (D-MA)

Democratic Party Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Democratic Party Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Republican Party John Barrasso (R-WY)

Republican Party Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Republican Party Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Republican Party Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Republican Party Mike Enzi (R-WY)

Republican Party Dean Heller (R-NV)

Republican Party Mike Lee (R-UT)

Republican Party Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Republican Party Rand Paul (R-KY)

Republican Party Jim Risch (R-ID)

Republican Party Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Republican Party Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Independent Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Visa waiver program

Rep. Mac Thornberry expressed his worry of members of ISIS reaching the United States using western passports, stating, "The biggest fear is that there are 10,000 to 12,000 foreign fighters that have joined ISIS and various estimates but many of them have Western passports. They're either American or they're Western European passports. So they can come here to the United States homeland without a visa. And they can bring ... what they've learned about bomb-making and about assassinations with them here at home."[53] The visa waiver program, run by the U.S. Department of State, was designed to draw high spending foreigners to the United States for visits. A bill proposed by Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) would expand the program, which covered visitors from more than 36 countries, to include more South American countries, European countries and Israel. The sponsors of the bill explained in a February 2014 op-ed, "Each overseas visitor spends an average of nearly $4,500 per trip to the U.S., adding nearly $130 billion to the economy in 2012. One American job is created for every 33 international visitors—meaning over one million domestic jobs were supported by inbound travel in 2012. [The Visa Waiver Program] expansion itself has a proven, immediate and marked economic benefit; in the year after the program was expanded to South Korea, spending in the U.S. by visitors from that affluent country more than tripled, according to a forthcoming study from the U.S. Travel Association." Responding to Thornberry's concerns, White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, claimed, "For Americans in the homeland, I think what we'd say is we monitor very closely whether or not [ISIS] will seek to develop plots that are aimed at the West, aimed at beyond this geographic area where they have been operating."[54]

Syrian bombing permission

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) announced on September 2, 2014, he would propose a piece of legislation allowing President Obama permission to begin bombing key ISIS locations in Syria. His was the first announcement of any proposals aimed at permitting the administration to use air strikes in Syria, but it was expected following the second beheading of an American journalist by the terror group. Nelson commented on the proposal, stating, "This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria. We must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty."[55]

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) stepped forward with a proposal on September 3, 2014, that would authorize the president's use of force against ISIS as well as any other extremist terrorist groups in an effort to stop ISIS. On the legislation, he stated, "This resolution would provide clear authority for the president and our military, working with coalition partners, to go after these terrorists, whether in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere. We cannot continue operating on outdated authorities passed 13 years ago; it is time for this Congress to vote."[56] Wolf also announced that he would propose legislation repealing the War Powers Resolution, replacing it with a requirement that the president only "consult" with Congress before taking military action requiring more than seven days. It would also require Congress to pass an approval resolution within 30 days.[57]

Congressional approval of air strikes

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were in disagreement over the need to pass congressional approval of the administration's air strikes in Iraq as well as any future strikes on ISIS. Sens.Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) each stated on September 8, 2014, that gaining congressional approval was not necessary for the actions taken by President Barack Obama, with Levin claiming, "I think the president has an abundant amount of authority to conduct operations. It would be good to have Congress on board. I don’t think the War Powers Act is constitutional. If Congress doesn’t like what he’s doing, we can always cut the money off."Members such as Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Rand Paul (D-KY) disagreed and continued to push for a vote. Paul argued, "It would show a disregard for the Constitution and for the history of our country."[58]

Congressional leadership did not want to take quick action, bringing a vote to the floor, with one republican aide stating, "We want to wait and see what he’s going to say to the four leaders and what he’s going to say to the nation,” a GOP aide said. “How he lays out his strategy will determine how our guys and members of Congress respond.[59] Reid backed up that sentiment, saying, "Tomorrow the president is addressing the nation. That doesn’t happen very often. On Thursday afternoon we’re having a briefing here from the administration on what’s going on in the Middle East. I’m going to wait and get the facts before I jump off into something that you read on the Internet someplace."[60]

While some members in tighter re-election campaigns were wary of a vote prior to November elections, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) came out strongly in favor of the vote, even going so far as threatening to use a procedural workaround if Republican Majority Leader John Boehner did not put a vote on the calendar. McGovern defended his threat, explaining, "We have boots on the ground, even though everybody says we don't want any boots on the ground. We're doing more than just protecting U.S. personnel on the ground. And when I read the newspapers, we're talking about a multi-year commitment," McGovern added. "So there's a role for Congress in this, and we need to make sure that we don't … shirk our constitutional responsibility. And I think most people feel that way."[61]

Strikes in Syria

The first air strikes on Syrian soil began September 23, 2014, in the Raqqa province, an ISIS stronghold. Defense Department officials announced that 14 strikes were made in the region by a coalition of Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. While ISIS forces in Raqqa were the main target of the initial strikes, a secondary target was an al-Qaeda linked group, Khorasan, which U.S. officials claimed were "a network of seasoned al-Qaida veterans" seeking to plot against Western interests.[62]

The same day the strikes began, Turkey offered its support to the coalition in providing logistical or military support. The country previously had its hands tied because ISIS was holding 46 political captives from the country, but the captives were freed September 20, 2014, allowing Turkey to assist the coalition. The action allowed the U.S. to make use of their air base in the country, near Syria. Additionally, Turkey announced they would be attempting to help stop the funding of ISIS by tightening border security that previously allowed ISIS to trade oil on the black market on Turkish soil.[63]

Citizenship and passport rejections

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Ted Poe (R-TX) all proposed bills aimed at revoking the passports and/or citizenship of anyone connected with ISIS or any other foreign terrorist organizations. Cruz introduced his bill to the U.S. Senate on September 8, 2014, while Poe and Bachmann introduced theirs to the House the following day. Bachmann said of her proposal, "Those who have joined a foreign terrorist organization have taken up arms against the United States and our very way of life. By turning against their country, their passports should be revoked and if they’re naturalized citizens, they should lose their citizenship."[64]

Recent news

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See also

References

  1. Politico, "What is happening in Iraq and why?," June 12, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 CNN, "ISIS: The first terror group to build an Islamic state?," June 12, 2014
  3. Russia Today, "All you need to know about ISIS and what is happening in Iraq," June 20, 2014
  4. The Guardian, "Iraqi civilian death toll passes 5,500 in wake of Isis offensive," July 18, 2014
  5. The Guardian, "Isis insurgents seize control of Iraqi city of Mosul," June 10, 2014
  6. Politico, "Chuck Hagel orders U.S. aircraft carrier to Persian Gulf," June 14, 2014
  7. Politico, "Up to 275 U.S. military personnel headed to Iraq," June 16, 2014
  8. USA Today, "Obama plans to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq," June 19, 2014
  9. Politico, "Senators invited to Iraq briefing," June 24, 2014
  10. The Guardian, "US flying armed drones in Iraq," June 28, 2014
  11. CBS News, "300 more U.S. troops headed to Iraq," June 30, 2014
  12. The Guardian, "House votes to block president from sending US troops to fight in Iraq," July 25, 2014
  13. ABC News, "US Carries Out More Airstrikes Against ISIS in Iraq," August 8, 2014
  14. The Telegraph, "Tanks on Baghdad's streets, but Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki finally ousted," August 11, 2014
  15. The Hill, "Obama orders more than 100 advisers to Iraq," August 12, 2014
  16. Time, "U.S. Says That Insurgents’ Siege of Iraqi Mountain Has Ended," August 14, 2014
  17. Al Jazeera, "Maliki gives up Iraq PM job to rival," August 15, 2014
  18. Politico, "White House broadens Iraq air mission," August 17, 2014
  19. The Guardian, "Islamic State militants claim to have killed US journalist James Foley," August 20, 2014
  20. The Hill, "DOJ investigating ISIS killing of Foley," August 21, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 The Guardian, "US launches reconnaissance flights over Syria," August 26, 2014
  22. Politico, "U.S. military launches airstrikes, drops humanitarian aid to help beleaguered city in Iraq," August 30, 2014
  23. CBS DC, "New ISIS Video Purports To Show Beheading Of Another US Journalist," September 2, 2014
  24. The Guardian, "Iraqi government names new cabinet as Islamic State advance," September 8, 2014
  25. 25.0 25.1 CNN, "Obama escalates ISIS campaign in Iraq, broadens it to war-ravaged Syria," September 10, 2014
  26. NBC News, "Tricky Diplomacy Awaits U.S. in ISIS Fight, Analysts Say," September 10, 2014
  27. Daily Mail Online, "'We will hunt down the killers of this British hero': Cameron vows to bring Jihadi John to justice after he beheads David Haines and threatens that second British aid worker will be next," September 13, 2014
  28. Star Tribune, "Obama signs bill authorizing arms and training for Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State group," September 19, 2014 (dead link)
  29. Al Jazeera, "ISIL released Turks held hostage in Iraq," September 21, 2014
  30. Al Jazeera, "Thousands of Syrian Kurds flee ISIL," September 21, 2014
  31. Al Jazeera, "US and allies strike ISIL targets in Syria," September 23, 2014
  32. New York Times, "Obama Sees Iraq Resolution as a Legal Basis for Airstrikes, Official Says," September 12, 2014
  33. The Hill, "Liberals press Pelosi, Obama for vote on Syrian air strikes," September 14, 2014
  34. Politico, "Saudis offer to host Syrian opposition training," September 10, 2014
  35. New York Times, "Retired Gen. John R. Allen in Line to Lead Effort vs. ISIS," September 11, 2014
  36. New York Times, "U.S. Rules Out Military Coordination With Iran," September 15, 2014
  37. New York Times, "Kerry Scours Mideast for Aid in ISIS Fight," September 13, 2014
  38. The Guardian, "Who are America's regional allies in the fight against Isis?," September 15, 2014
  39. 39.0 39.1 New York Times, "Struggling to Starve ISIS of Oil Revenue, U.S. Seeks Assistance From Turkey," September 13, 2014
  40. Associated Press, "CIA: ISLAMIC STATE GROUP HAS UP TO 31,500 FIGHTERS," September 11, 2014
  41. Politico, "DOD: Iraq effort cost more than $560 million," August 29, 2014
  42. The Guardian, "Kurds on Iraq's new faultline feel destiny beckoning," July 11, 2014
  43. The Hill, "Syrian rebels warn Obama against airstrikes," August 25, 2014
  44. The Hill, "ISIS captures key Syrian air base," August 25, 2014
  45. New York Times, "Paths to War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama," September 13, 2014
  46. Washington Free Beacon, "U.S. Confirms ISIL Planning Infiltration of U.S. Southern Border," September 10, 2014
  47. 47.0 47.1 The Hill, "Justice asks local leaders to help identify US ISIS recruits," September 15, 2014
  48. 48.0 48.1 The Hill, "Republicans to limit Obama's aid to moderate Syrian rebel forces," September 15, 2014
  49. The Hill, "White House steps up pressure on Congress to arm Syria rebels," September 15, 2014
  50. The Hill, "85 Democrats buck Obama in ISIS vote," September 17, 2014
  51. The Hill, "House approves Obama request for Syria in broad bipartisan vote," September 17, 2014
  52. The Hill, "Nine Senate Dems vote 'no' on Syria," September 18, 2014
  53. The Hill, "Fears mount of ISIS infiltrating America," August 24, 2014
  54. The Hill, "Fears mount of ISIS infiltrating America," August 24, 2014
  55. Politico, "Bill Nelson to offer ISIL legislation," September 2, 2014
  56. The Hill, "House GOP bill would authorize use of military force against ISIS," September 3, 2014
  57. United States House of Representatives, "Frank Wolf H.R.," accessed September 4, 2014
  58. The Hill, "ISIS vote divides Senate," September 8, 2014
  59. The Hill, "Leadership hoping to avoid vote on ISIS," September 9, 2014
  60. The Hill, "Reid won’t ‘rush’ ISIS vote in Senate," September 9, 2014
  61. The Hill, "House Dem eyes strategy to force ISIS vote," September 9, 2014
  62. The Guardian, "US confirms 14 air strikes against Isis in Syria," September 23, 2014
  63. The Guardian, "Turkey ready to aid US air strikes against Isis jihadis in Syria," September 23, 2014
  64. The Hill, "GOP bills would revoke passports for people involved with ISIS," September 9, 2014