Terrorism is one of the main factors why countries like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and most notably Syria are in a state of civil war. In September 2001, the terrorist group “Al-Qaeda” led by Osama bin Laden attacked the USA and which caused “The Global War on Terror” which lead to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the United States. The Iraq War can be blamed for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or “ISIS” for short.
Invasion of Iraq
After the Americans the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the country was controlled by a new government which oppressed the minority, but this new government wasn’t able to keep the country together as the previous did which left Iraq in a “power vacuum”. This lead to the previously mentioned Al-Qaeda to come into Iraq and fight in an attempt to establish an Islamic State. Eventually, these group of fighters disliked Al-Qaeda and broke away, established the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). According to Wikipedia, an estimated 112,000 to 123,000 civilian deaths. These people died just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Credit to Wikipedia
In 2011, the Arab Spring occurred in which peaceful anti-government protest took place in countries all over the Arab World and caused many wars such as the Yemeni Civil War, Libyan Civil War, and of course the Syrian War. Syria is run by a dictator by the name of Bashar Al Assad the people of Syria are a majority of Sunni Muslims, while Assad and his government were Alawites, a minority in the nation. According to the LA Times, Alawites are a sect of Shiite Islam which alongside Sunni Islam make up to two branches of Islam. Politically these two branches despise each other, the biggest example of this is the superpowers of the Middle East, the Sunni Saudi Arabia, and the Shiite Iran who are currently fighting a proxy war in Yemen.
Credit to CNN
Syrian Civil War
These anti-Assad protests soon turned violent as Assad started to crack down on protesters killing them as explained by “The Guardian”. These protesters were not going to get attacked for what they believe is right so these protesters fought back and alongside with former Assad forces became known as The Free Syrian Army. This lead to full-scale Civil War with the Russian and Iranian-backed Assad regime and the NATO and Saudi-backed Rebels. The Syrian Civil War is hands down the bloodiest civil war caused by the Arab Spring.
ISI becomes ISIS
In 2013, the previously mentioned ISI saw this civil war as an opportunity to gain ground to establish their so called “Islamic State” the ISI now became known as “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” or “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” (ISIS, ISIL). ISIS had no mercy and killed anyone in their way or anyone who didn’t agree with the strict interpretation of the Quran. According to Ibtimes, ISIS killed at least 33,000 people. In 2015, a Jordanian air force pilot by the name of Muath Al-Kasasbeh was flying a F-16 fighter plane when it crashed over Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS. ISIS fighters caught Al-Kasasbeh and executed him by lighting him on fire on camera. Muath along with many others have been executed by ISIS fighters in propaganda.
Credit to CNN
Assad’s use of chemical weapons
In 2013, Assad was losing ground to the rebels and he was desperate to stay in power he began to use chemical weapons against civilians killing around an estimated 1,300 deaths in that attack. By using chemical weapons Assad was committing war crimes. This caused President Obama to attack in Syria by airstrikes. In 2016, Donald Trump was elected President and Inaugurated in 2017. This week on 4/4/17, President Assad carried out a chemical attack on rebel held territory and killed many innocent people including children. This was the largest chemical attack in years. On 4/6/17, the United States blamed this attack on Assad and possibly infuriating the Russian Government, President Trump called for airstrikes on Assad territory, the first time the US attacked an Arab Government since Obama and Libya in 2011.
Credit to Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Future of the war
This war as many of us are hoping to going to end, but when? No one knows whats going to happen we are just going to have to wait and see.