WP By Ishaan Tharoor
The forces of the Sunni extremist Islamic State now control a stretch of territory bigger than quite a few European countries, with a population of some 6 million Iraqis and Syrians living under its watch. Their sustained advance, buoyed by funds gleaned from recently captured oil fields, is a symptom of a frightening new reality in the Middle East. “The birth of the new state,” writes journalist Patrick Cockburn in the London Review of Books, “is the most radical change to the political geography of the Middle East” since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
In the crosshairs of the jihadist group are religious and ethnic minorities — Christians, Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis — who now face a terrible battle in lands they have long called home. The Islamic State’s declaration of a Caliphate was a statement of world-historic intent and, despite its obvious delusions, laid down…
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