Military Wiki
American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–2021)
Part of the 2014 military intervention against ISIL, Iraqi Civil War, and the Global War on Terrorism
FA-18C Fighter Iraq Airstrikes August 7 2014.JPG
An American F/A-18C Hornet aboard the USS George H.W. Bush prior to the launch of operations over Iraq
Date8 August 2014 – present (8 years and 1 week)
  • Nineveh Province
  • Saladin Province
  • Kirkuk Governorate
  • Iraqi Kurdistan
  • Anbar Governorate


  • US, UK and French airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq
  • Multinational humanitarian and arming of ground forces efforts
  • Coalition advising and training ground forces

Coalition forces: United States (leader)
 United Kingdom[12]

Local forces:
Iraq Iraq
 Iraqi Kurdistan

Humanitarian support

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders

Barack Obama
Chuck Hagel
Lloyd Austin
Andrew J. Loiselle
Tony Abbott
David Johnston
David Johnston
Craig Orme[25]
Stephen Harper
Rob Nicholson
Thomas J. Lawson
Yvan Blondin
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Peter Bartram
France François Hollande[26]
France Jean-Yves Le Drian
France Pierre de Villiers
Netherlands Mark Rutte
Netherlands Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Netherlands Frans Timmermans
Sander Schnitger
David Cameron
Michael Fallon
Andrew Pulford
Nick Clegg[27]

Iraq Fuad Masum
Iraq Nouri al-Maliki
Iraq Haider al-Abadi
Masoud Barzani
Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa

Mustafa Said Qadir

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Mohammad al-Adnani
ISIL Supporters
Casualties and losses

Anti ISIL forces United States

  • 2 American civilians (James Foley and Steven Sotloff) executed[54]
  • 1 American civilian captured[55]
  • 1 American F-15 damaged[56]
  • 1 U.S. Marine killed in accident[57][58]
  • 1 UAV crashed[59]


  • 1 French tourist executed[60]

 United Kingdom

  • 1 British civilian captured[61]
  • 2 British aid workers executed.[62][63]

Unknown number of fighters killed

  • 162 vehicles
  • 21 weapons systems (as of mid-September)[64]
  • 1 weapons depot destroyed[26]

Following the rapid advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria into northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, the United States and its allies[65] stepped up efforts to counter the Islamist militants' advance. The U.S., along with several other countries, launched airstrikes against ISIL positions near Erbil and Sinjar, breaking the siege of Mount Sinjar in August. In August, speaking about US involvement in Iraq, President Barack Obama said "this is going to be a long-term project".[66]


Beginning in June 2014, ISIL militants advanced deep into northern Iraq from Syria, marking a major spillover of the Syrian Civil War into Iraq. The Iraqi military fled from their positions in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, leaving it and the surrounding territory to the hands of ISIL.[67] Kurdish forces were exposed to the threat of attacks from ISIL, whose militants took up positions near Mosul and the Mosul Dam and threatened Kirkuk, where peshmerga troops took control from the Iraqi government.[68]

Beginning of the intervention

With ISIL consolidating its control of a swath of northern Iraq and threatening the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan, many ethnic minorities in the area, such as Christians and Yazidis, were facing the threat of genocide. A group of Yazidis fled to Mount Sinjar, where they were attacked and besieged by ISIL fighters.

On 8 August 2014, the United States carried out airstrikes against ISIL artillery positions menacing Erbil (Hewler), the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. President Barack Obama said U.S. involvement was intended to protect the country's facilities in Iraq.[69] Within days, the U.S. stepped up its involvement in the conflict, mounting a dual humanitarian and military mission together with the United Kingdom to provide supplies to the trapped Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, while attacking ISIL positions in the mountain's vicinity.[70][71]

The U.S also armed the Peshmerga in an attempt to help push back ISIL forces from the vicinity and provided close-air support in the battle for Mosul Dam, which posed a threat to a large number of civilians living near the Tigris River.[72][Clarification needed]

Later developments

Lloyd Austin, the American general in charge of U.S. Central Command, has been confirmed to be the top officer in charge of the campaign against the ISIL. He is also prosecuting U.S.-led strikes in Syria.[73]

Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition in support of the Iraqi Army reportedly halted an ISIL offensive west of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, in late September 2014.[74]

Thirteen airstrikes were launched on 30 September, a high-water mark for the intervention to date, by U.S. and UK aircraft.[75]

The coalition suffered its first casualty of the conflict on 2 October, when a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed in the Persian Gulf after takeoff from the USS Makin Island, leaving one of its crewmen missing and presumed dead.[57]

ISIL threatened to kill the American aid worker Peter Kassig on October 4, after releasing a video of murder of British hostage Alan Henning. The ISIL fighter says in the video: "Obama, you have started your aerial bombardment in Sham. So it's only right we continue to strike the necks of your people."[76]

Contributions to mission

  • United States As the leader of the coalition, the United States has made the most significant military commitment to the intervention, although it has stopped short of committing regular combat troops. Fighter aircraft from the United States Air Force and United States Navy and military "advisers" on the ground have been involved in combating ISIL in northern Iraq,[77][78][79] as well as north and west of Baghdad.[80] President Barack Obama has committed some 1,600 troops to serve in an advisory capacity to Iraqi Army and Peshmerga infantry on the ground.[81] America sends Apache helicopters and crews are sent to Iraq on the 1st of October.[82]
  • Australia Australia supplied materiel to the coalition effort before committing military force on 3 October. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his country, which contributed a sizable force to the American-led coalition that waged the Iraq War, would commence airstrikes and could dispatch up to 200 special forces troops to "advise" local forces in a "non-combat" role.[83] F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bombers, a KC-30A tanker transport, and an E-7A Wedgetail radar picket from the Royal Australian Air Force flew their first combat missions over Iraq as part of the intervention in early October.[84]
  • Belgium Belgium announced in late September it will provide six F-16 Fighting Falcons, and Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo planes supported by 120 pilots and other staff to the military effort in Iraq.[85] Belgian air forces operate from Shaheed Mwaffaq Air Base located in Jordan.[86]
  • Canada Canada sent 68 special forces but reduced to 26 troops in Iraq, serving in a non-combat capacity as part of coalition efforts to defeat the ISIL, as of 2 October. On 3 October, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tabled a motion in the House of Commons to send 6 CF-18 fighter jets to Iraq, along with an air-to-air refueling aircraft and 2 surveillance aircraft to participate in targeted airstrikes.[87] The House of Commons approved the mission on 7 October by a vote of 157 to 134.[88]
  • Denmark Denmark committed to a yearlong deployment of seven planes in Kuwait,[89] support staff, and 250 pilots on 26 September.[85]
  • France France was relatively quick to join the United States in conducting military operations over northern Iraq. French airstrikes were first launched as part of the intervention on 19 September 2014.[90]
  • Germany Germany has provided instructors to train Kurdish Peshmerga troops.[85]
  • Italy In addition to supplying weapons, ammunition, and other aid to local forces in Iraq, Italy has offered to assist coalition partners in air-to-air refueling operations.[85]
  • Netherlands The Netherlands said it would bring six General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighters online in support of coalition efforts by the start of October on 24 September.[85] On 5 October, the Dutch Ministry of Defence declared that the first missions had been flown over Iraq, but no weapons had been used.[91] Dutch air forces operate from Shaheed Mwaffaq Air Base located in Jordan.[86]
  • United Kingdom Six, and later eight, Panavia Tornado strike fighters from the Royal Air Force began attacking targets in Iraq on 30 September, following a decision by the United Kingdom's government to begin combat operations in support of the American-led coalition.[92] The UK also made humanitarian supply drops to Yazidi refugees on Mount Sinjar in August 2014.[93]
  • Albania, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Hungary, Greece, and Bulgaria as well as unnamed Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries, have or will provide weapons to local forces.[85]

Air bases of the U.S. and allies

The following is a list of publicly disclosed air bases that have been used in the conflict. It is likely that there are other, yet undisclosed air bases being used. Incirlik Air Base in Turkey has served as the home base for the majority of strike aircraft.[94]

Potential contributions

  • New Zealand New Zealand has not committed to joining the coalition, but Prime Minister John Key said he would not rule out dispatching troops from the elite New Zealand Special Air Service to Iraq if needed, although he called a potential troop deployment "my least preferred option".[95] New Zealand has no offensive air capability.[96]
  • Spain Spain said in September 2014 it would station a Patriot missile battery and 130 servicemen in Turkey in case of cross-border attacks against its NATO ally, but would not make the deployment until January 2015.[97]
  • Turkey The Grand National Assembly of Turkey voted to back President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's request for broad authorization to commit Turkish jets and troops to combat operations in Iraq, as well as Syria, on 2 October. The vote came after pressure from the U.S. government on Ankara to join the anti-ISIL coalition.[98] Turkey has yet to commit military force or materiel to operations in Iraq.[99]

American military actions


President Obama speaks about the "game plan" for dealing with ISIL.

Locations where the U.S has launched airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq (as of September 16th.)

U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighters bomb Islamic State artillery targets on August 8, 2014.

U.S. forces have been undertaking reconnaissance missions over northern Iraq, both by drone and F-18 Hornet aircraft, since the early summer of 2014.[100][101][102]

On the evening of 7 August, President Obama gave a live address to the Nation. He described the worsening conditions in Iraq and said that the plight of the Yazidis, a religious minority in northern Iraq threatened with extinction at the hands of the Islamic State, in particular had convinced him that U.S. military action was necessary. The President said that he had ordered military action to protect American lives, protect minority groups in Iraq, and to stop a possible Islamic State advance on Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Autonomous Region.[103]

On 8 August, U.S. Navy McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters bombed Islamic State artillery units. Four U.S. fighters later bombed an Islamic State military convoy.[104] Another round of U.S. airstrikes in the afternoon struck 8 Islamic State targets near Erbil. Armed drones as well as fixed wing aircraft were used in the U.S. attacks.[105] The F/A-18s were launched from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. A Navy official said that the two planes involved in the airstrikes were Super Hornets from Carrier Air Wing 8, of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.[106]

On 9 August, U.S. forces again launched a series of 4 air attacks against Sunni fighters, this time primarily aimed at armored fighting vehicles. A combination of US warplanes and drones destroyed four armored personnel carriers and at least one unarmored fighting vehicle near Sanjin, in northwestern Iraq.[107][108]

On 10 August, U.S. forces launched a series of 5 air attacks against the Islamic State, which targeted armed vehicles as well as a mortar position. Assisted by these air attacks, Kurdish forces claimed to have recaptured the towns of Mahmour and Gweyr[109] from Islamic State control. Additional Iraqi airstrikes conducted in Sinjar claim to have killed 45 ISIS militants and injured an additional 60 militants.[110]

The Pentagon characterized airstrikes as stopgap military actions that would not be able to significantly disrupt Islamic State activities.[111]

On 14 August, U.S air-strikes and Kurdish ground forces had broken the ISIS siege of Mount Sinjar, allowing thousands of Yazidi refugees to escape. This made an American ground intervention to rescue the Yazidis stranded on the mountaintop unlikely.[112] The U.S. announced a shift in focus to arming the Kurds and reversing ISIL gains.[113]

On 16 August, U.S. drones and warplanes began a close air campaign aimed at supporting the advance of Kurdish fighters moving toward the Mosul Dam. Kurdish sources commented that this was the largest American air effort yet seen in the war.[114][115] The fate of the dam is not contested as of 18 August. The air campaign drove the Islamic State from the dam, for now.[115] This marked a shift in the use of U.S. Forces. In a letter to Congress, President Obama explained that he would now also be using American power to protect Iraqi infrastructure and to pursue ISIS, even when they did not threaten the interests that he laid out during the initial commitment to the conflict.[116]

On 8 September, the Iraqi army with close air support from U.S. F-18 aircraft manage to retake the key Haditha dam. Following the recapture, Iraqi troops moved on to recapture the town of Barwana. Iraqi state television reported that 15 Islamic State militants were killed in the battle.[117] Following the recent Iraqi victory, ISIS responded with the public execution of David Haines.[62]

On 16 September, following a speech by Barack Obama on the expansion of the air campaign over Iraq, the Iraqi Army requested U.S. close air support over an Islamic State firing position near the city. This indicated the first round of airstrikes authorized by Barack Obama to go outside the original plan and engage Islamic State militants with the authority of the Iraqi government.[118] This marks the 162nd airstrike against the Islamic State.[118]

By the end of September 2014, the United States Navy and Air Force had conducted 240 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, as well as 1,300 tanker refueling missions, totaling 3,800 sorties by all types of aircraft. A tactical arrangement is being used by local ground forces and American aircraft to coordinate close air support without needing U.S. troops in actual combat zones to call in strikes. In this arrangement, Kurdish and Iraqi forces in close contact with Islamic State fighters call in suggested targets to U.S. Joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) based at Joint Operations Centers in Irbil and Baghdad. The JTACs then check the suggested targets through live-streaming video provided by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft overhead to know where ground positions are to plan strike missions.[119]

Ground forces

In July, Obama announced that owing to the continuing violence in Iraq and the growing influence of non-state actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the United States would be elevating its security commitment in the region. Approximately 800 U.S. troops secured American installations like the Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulate in Erbil as well as seizing control of strategic locations like the Baghdad airport.[120][121]

U.S. forces also undertook a mission to "assess and to advise [Iraqi security forces] as they confront [ISIS] and the complex security situation on the ground.”[122] Reports from these American units about the capabilities of the current Iraqi military have been consistently grim, viewing them as "compromised" by sectarian interests.[123][124][125]

On 13 August, the U.S. deployed another 130 military advisers to Northern Iraq.[126]

On 13 August, up to 20 U.S. Marines and special forces servicemen landed on Mount Sinjar from V-22 aircraft to coordinate the evacuation of Yazidi refugees. A team of British SAS was already in the area.[127]

On 3 September, a net increase of 350 servicemen was announced to be sent to Baghdad, increasing U.S. forces in Baghdad to 820, and increasing U.S. forces in Iraq to 1,213.[128]

On 10 September, Obama gave a speech in which he reiterated that American troops will not fight in combat. He also said that about 500 more troops will be sent to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces.[129]

"Nameless" intervention

Unlike their coalition partners, and unlike previous America combat operations, no name has been given to the 2014 conflict in Iraq by the American government.[130] The decision to keep the conflict nameless has drawn considerable media criticism.[131][132][133][134][135] American Servicemen remain ineligible for Campaign Medals and other service decorations due to the continuing ambiguous nature of the American Intervention.[136]

Military actions by other coalition members

The United Kingdom's initial role was supporting humanitarian efforts using Royal Air Force C-130's operating from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus along with surveillance provided by Panavia Tornado GR4s.[137] The first such airdrop was made on August 10.[138] It has also been announced that Boeing Chinooks will also be deployed.[139] The British placed the Special Air Service on the ground briefly and are airlifting munitions to the Kurds from an unnamed[113] Eastern European nation.[140][141] Members of the 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, has also been deployed to the area.[142]

Australian involvement began after C-130J transport aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force based in the Middle East started airdropping humanitarian aid in Northern Iraq on August 13/14, 2014.[143][144] RAAF C-17s and C-130Js were subsequently used to airlift arms and munitions to forces in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq in September.[145][146][147] On 14 September the government announced that an Air Task Group (ATG) of up to eight F/A-18F Super Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft, and a KC-30A air-to-air refuelling tanker, along with a Special Operations Task Force would be deployed to the Middle East in preparation for possible operations against Islamic State forces.[148] Australian armed forces operate from Al Minhad Air Base located in nearby United Arab Emirates.[149] The ATG commenced operations on 1 October.[150]

France plans to contribute to ongoing humanitarian efforts in Iraq, in addition to offering asylum to Iraqi Christians fleeing the violence.[151] France is planning to ship arms directly to the Kurds.[140] French Rafale fighter aircraft operating from the UAE have conducted reconnaissance flights of IS positions.[152] On 19 September 2014, France bombed and destroyed an ISIS depot, marking the first military intervention by a Western country other than the U.S on Iraq.[153]

Germany has a policy of not supplying arms to active combat zones, so Germany initially ruled out supplying military aid to the Kurds but ramped up humanitarian spending in Northern Iraq and sent 4 transport aircraft.[154] Germany is shipping non-lethal military equipment to the Iraqi Central Government[155] and the Kurdish Regional Government.[140] Given the brutal situation, Germany continues to debate the direct shipment of arms.[156]

Italy started Humanitarian support and then decided to give military aid to the Kurds. The prime minister of Italy Matteo Renzi visited Iraq and the Kurds on 20 August to consider the response to the terrorists of the ISIS. He said that without international involvement it would be a "new Srebrenica".[157]

The European Commission announced it would boost humanitarian aid to Iraq to €17m, and approved special emergency measures to meet the crisis. On 15 August 2014, 20 of the 28 EU foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss military and humanitarian assistance.[158][159] The EU issued a statement "The EU remains seriously concerned about the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, and condemns in the strongest terms the attacks perpetrated by [IS] and other associated armed groups." The EU welcomed the "decision by individual Member States to respond positively to the call by the Kurdish regional authorities to provide urgently military material."[113]

A number of Middle Eastern nations, which don't want their role revealed according to American officials, have agreed to provide small amounts of weaponry.[113]

Sweden expressed support for military assistance by others but for legal reasons will only provide humanitarian support. Denmark has committed a C-130 transport aircraft and money for relief efforts.[5][160]

Erbil-based BASNEWS reported that the Kurdistan Regional Government, in cooperation with the Iraqi and American governments will open a military air base in Erbil. Spokesman for the Peshmerga Ministry Halgurd Hikmat said that seven countries so far have agreed to supply weapons and military goods, being the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, and Finland.[161]

On 4 September 2014 Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would deploy "about 100" military advisers to be based in Baghdad assisting the Iraqi Military in the fight against ISIS. These personnel are special operations forces which will work closely with US special forces to "provide advice that will help the government of Iraq and its security forces be more effective against ISIL", but their role is not expected to be direct combat. CBC News reports that about 100 Canadians will be deployed, primarily to help Kurdish forces.[162] On 3 October, Stephen Harper tabled a motion in the House of Commons that would authorize the deployment of six CF-18 fighter jets along with two surveillance aircraft and an air-to-air refueling aircraft.[163] The stated goal of the deployments would be to participate in airstrikes against ISIS targets. Parliament is expected to vote on this motion on 6 October.

In late August, Albania and Croatia began sending arms to the Kurds. With the help of Western air transport systems, Albania has sent 22 million rounds of AK-47 7.62 millimeter bullets, 15,000 hand grenades and 32,000 artillery shells to the Kurdish forces.[19] The armaments from Albania[164] and Croatia[165] are both particularly useful to the effort because of the fact that they are compatible with the Kurds' Russian made weapons systems which make up the majority of their equipment. Also Czech Republic sent (with the help of Royal Canadian Air Force) ammunition to the Kurds. The supply consisted of 10 million rounds for AK-47, 8 million rounds for machinegun, 5,000 warheads for RPG and 5,000 hand grenades.[166] On September 24, 2014, both Netherlands and Belgium announced they will send six F-16 planes each.[167][168]

On 5 August 2014, Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and the U.N., wrote in the Washington Post that the United States is involved in "the direct supply of munitions to the Kurds and, with Baghdad's agreement, the shipment of some Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program weapons to the Kurds."[169]

The United States moved from indirectly supplying Kurdistan with small arms through the CIA to directly giving them weapons such as man-portable anti-tank systems.[170]

Humanitarian efforts

Bottled water containers are loaded on a U.S. Air Force C-17 for an airdrop on August 8.

The United States, supported by international partners, has undertaken a large humanitarian effort to support refugees stranded in northern Iraq with airdropped supplies. In particular, on August 7, 2 Lockheed C-130 Hercules's and 1 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III dropped tens of thousands of meals and thousands of gallons of drinking water to Yazidi refugees stranded in the Sinjar mountains by advancing IS forces.[171][172] On 9 August 2014, American planes again dropped humanitarian supplies over northern Iraq, this time consisting of 4,000 gallons of drinking water and 16,000 ready-to-eat meals.[173]

On the night of 13/14 August a 16-aircraft mission including US C-17s and C-130Hs, a British C-130J, and an Australian C-130J airdropped supplies to Yezidi civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar in what was later described as "the first mass air delivery of humanitarian cargo since the outbreak of violence in East Timor in 1999."[143][174]

Intervention in Iraqi politics

American politicians and the U.S. government have called for embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who the U.S. has viewed as incompetent and too close to Iran, to step aside. In August 2014 several American officials openly sent messages of support to Iraqi president, and al-Maliki rival, Fuad Masum.[175] This immediately weakened al-Maliki's attempt to form a coalition government, and on August 11 government officials said that his time limit to form the government had expired. On that day, al-Maliki opponent Haider Al-Abadi was nominated for the position of PM with American support, but has not formed a new government yet. He must do so by September 10, 2014.[176] Al-Maliki refused to step down, but he warned his supporters in the Iraqi Army, who have convened in Baghdad, not to take military action against Fuad Masum's coalition.[177]

On 15 August 2014, al-Maliki announced that he would step down as prime minister.[178] The move was lauded by the U.S. government. On September 9, 2014, Haider al-Abadi formed the new government and is the official prime minister. The US State Department expressed hope that this can unite the country.[179]

American domestic criticism

The initial decision to intervene in Iraq was met with bipartisan support in the United States Congress. However, the extent and future of the intervention was disputed. Members of the Republican Party tended to favor greater intervention against ISIS. Members of the Democratic Party tended to support limited humanitarian missions, but feared for the emergence of mission creep.[180][181]

US President Obama has received significant criticism for his decision to re-involve the US into a conflict in Iraq.[182] The President's opponents on the right contend that this second Iraq conflict confirms that his earlier Iraq Withdrawal strategy was shortsighted, vindicating criticism from his previous electoral opponents, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who had campaigned on the platform that his withdrawal plan was flawed.[183][184] Whereas critics opposed to intervention contend that past occupation policies such as De-Ba'athfication and disbanding Iraq's military served as a proximate cause for much of the sectarian strife and renewed intervention risks aggravating sectarian tensions and driving secular Sunni insurgents closer to ISIS.[185][186][187][188][189][190][191][192]

A Washington Post editorial criticized the American effort to reunite Iraq, claiming that the country was irreconcilably divided.[193] William Hartung, writing in Stars and Stripes, worried that the intervention is likely to have negative consequences, noting the inability to leave the country during the Iraq War.[194]

According to Seth Jones, a terrorism expert with RAND Corporation, US airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq “could increase the likelihood that ISIS or somebody inspired by ISIS, would strike against the homeland.” The experts believe that the group will be more eager to act against the US if they are attacked. Ramzi Mardini in the New York Times similarly wrote that armed intervention would lead to increase blowback risk of terrorism against US.[195] On the other hand, according to Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy "they are likely planning attacks whether the U.S. conducts targeted air strikes or not." “In my opinion, we should destroy them as soon as possible.” he says.[196] Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of the Republican party including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and John Boehner have likewise called for greater military strikes in the region to contain the Islamic State.[181]

Hillary Clinton criticized the need to intervene in Iraq as being driven by presidential policy that was weak on the Middle East, failing to stifle ISIS's creation, or to do enough to combat international jihadism in the region.[197][198][199]

An editorial in Vox defined the intervention as being limited to Kurdistan, effectively allowing the Islamic State to control a large part of Iraq in the absence of any other occupying power. The editorial argued that Kurdistan is a stabler area and will be a better ally for the US, moreover defending just Iraqi Kurdistan will not be very costly.[200]

See also


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