Aug 20 2014

Just Returned From Iraq, Journalist Reese Erlich Analyzes US Operation

An American journalist named James Foley has reportedly been beheaded by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The group apparently posted a video of the missing journalist’s beheading, which they say was carried out in Syria. Foley had been missing for two years. ISIS blames Foley’s killing on the US decision to bomb northern Iraq.

A day after Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured the Mosul Dam in Iraq, with the help of US forces, the Iraqi National Army is now headed to the ISIS-held city of Tikrit. Tikrit is the home-town of former dictator Saddam Hussein. The Army’s march to Tikrit was marred by roadside bombs and snipers from the Sunni-dominated Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the latest reports suggest there are already clashes taking place.

A poll by USA Today and the Pew Research Center this week found that between 41%-44% of Americans think the US has a responsibility to “do something” about the situation in Iraq. Just a month ago, 55% said the US should not get involved. Despite the increased support, there is public reluctance for any long-term US involvement

The United Nations is planning a massive humanitarian operation in Iraq, to aid the 500,000 internally displaced refugees. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees characterized it as “one of the largest we have done and certainly the largest in quite a while.” The World Food Programme is also gearing up for a huge emergency delivery of food, saying that today’s crisis was the worst since the early 1990s. Saudi Arabia has donated $148 million to the WFP.

GUEST: Reese Erlich, veteran freelance foreign correspondent who has traveled widely across the Middle East and just returned from Iraq. He has written a number of books including, Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence, and Empire. His latest book is called Inside Syria: The Back Story of the Civil War and What the World Can Expect

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