source: The Nation
published: 11 June 2014
By now it’s clear that the civil wars in Syria and Iraq are one.
Both battles are complex, but as they have intensified over the past several years both have taken on an increasingly sectarian character, pitting rebel Sunni forces against entrenched Shiite and Alawite governments in Baghdad and Damascus.
And because no compromise solution seems in sight in either case, radicals and extremists have gained the upper hand, with a network of Sunni Islamists either allied with Al Qaeda or representing Al Qaeda spinoffs, perhaps even more radical than Al Qaeda itself.
Indeed, the group leading the battle in Iraq—which actually began in Iraq, first as Al Qaeda in Iraq and then as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—is more militant than the Pakistan/Afghanistan-based organization, which criticized ISIS for refusing to cooperate more smoothly with other parts of the Sunni-led opposition fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria.