In June this year the Al-Quaeda off shoot ISIS (Islamic State or Iraq and Syria) expanded its blood thirsty operation beyond the chaos of the Syrian Civil War down into Northern Iraq.  In the following weeks ISIS managed to gain control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery and advanced astonishingly close to Baghdad. In the last days of June the Jihadist millitants re-branded simply as Islamic State, declaring the territory it occupied to be a new Caliphate (an Islamic State led by a supreme religious leader) and to have authority over the world’s Muslim population.

I spoke to international strategist, Robert Earle to get an expert opinion on the current situation, its causes, and what we might reasonably expect to happen next. 

In an impressive career Earle has worked at high levels in US Public Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, and National Security and has served as Counsellor to both the Deputy Secretary and the Director of National Intelligence. 

From 2004 to 2005 Earle in his capacity as senior advisor to the US ambassador developed strategy to assist the interim Iraqi government in countering the widespread insurgency of the time. He played a part in setting the conditions for Iraq’s first successful democratic elections in 2005.

  More from Robert Earle:

Fiction: Citizenship Test by Robert Earle

On the situation in Iraq:

The rises of ISIS – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28116033

ISIS advances in to Lebanon – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-brings-its-war-to-lebanon–and-it-could-be-a-key-part-of-a-masterplan-9648009.html

ISIS seize Iraq’s largest dam – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/04/sunni-seize-iraqs-dam-defeat-kurdish