Backgrounder – The Emergence of the Islamic State By: Matthew Morgan | Iraq | Aug 22, 2014

The rapid advance in June of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Shām (ISIS) across northern Iraq, capturing its second largest city, Mosul and threatening to advance on Baghdad, stunned global security experts and policy makers alike. The collapse and retreat of the Iraqi army demonstrates, more than anything, the abject failure of American policy in the country. After eight years of occupation and over 100 billion USD invested in Iraq’s security infrastructure, the United States has precious little to show for its commitment – other than effectively outfitting the Islamic State (IS), as the group soon began to call itself, with the latest military hardware.

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