chapter  5
19 Pages

Black Summer, 2014

WithJonathan Spyer

In the summer of 2014, the Syria war conclusively burst its borders, moving closer to a regional conflagration. The instrument that smashed through the line separating Syria from Iraq was the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq organization. Iraq had, in any case, witnessed growing unrest, along sectarian lines, since the end of 2013 and it was this dynamic which Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sought to exploit. The government in Baghdad was dominated by the Shia Islamist Dawa party. The Sunni Arabs of the center of the country had not reconciled themselves to a future as a 20 percent minority in a Shia-dominated Iraq. ISIS was already in there, working in tandem with former officers of Saddam Hussein's regime to foment a new Sunni insurgency. The dynamic of the Arab dictatorships in Syria and Iraq had, throughout, been sectarian and tribal at their core.