PLEDGE NOW
Iraq Unravels In Violent Civil Strife

Iraq, coming apart at the seams. And the whole map of the Middle East may be in play.  We’ll take a cold, hard look.

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP)

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP)

Days into the onslaught of black-clad fighters in Iraq, the news is still stunning.  The map of Iraq – where the US invaded, spent billions, trillions, lost 4000 lives – redrawn in less than a week. City after city lost to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a group more than dreaming now of an Islamic “caliphate” stretching from Aleppo to Iran, beyond.  A fantasy before the US invasion.  Now a region of turmoil you can draw on the map.  This hour On Point:  Iraq, coming apart right now at the seams.  America’s options.  The facts on the ground.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ned Parker, Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters. (@nedmparker1)

Paul Pillar, professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. Form national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia.

Seth Jones, acting director of the RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center. (@SethGJones)

Borzou Daragahi, Middle East and North Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. (@borzou)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Iraq Scrambles to Defend Baghdad — “Iraq’s government girded to protect the capital from advancing insurgents, as Iranian security officials said their forces had joined the battle on Baghdad’s side and the U.S. weighed military assistance, including airstrikes. Iraq edged closer to all-out sectarian conflict as Kurdish forces took control of a provincial capital in the oil-rich north on Thursday and Sunni militants threatened to march on two cities revered by Shiite Muslims and the capital.”

Reuters: Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric issues call to fight jihadist rebels — “Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite Muslim cleric urged followers to take up arms against a full-blown Sunni militant insurgency to topple Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, escalating a conflict that threatens civil war and a possible break-up of the country.”

The Daily Beast: ISIS’s Secret Allies — “All eyes have been on ISIS as the jihadist group, in a matter of days, cut Iraq in half and declared its own state in the cities it captured. With fewer than 10,000 fighters ISIS forced the retreat of the better-armed Iraqi army forces many times its size. Their incredible success on the battlefield has fed into a growing lore about the group: the small band of fanatics that can take down a country. The truth is more basic and it’s something ISIS doesn’t want to admit—they weren’t acting alone.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 27, 2016
Riot police block off the Albuquerque Convention Center to anti-Trump protests following a rally and speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the convention center where the event was held, in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Obama at Hiroshima. Turmoil at Trump rallies. Clinton’s emails, heating up. Sanders predicts a “messy” convention. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 27, 2016
In this Oct. 27, 2015, photo,  Big Muddy Farms, an urban farm in northern Omaha, Neb. is seen amongst residential homes. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got top gardeners spilling the beans on how to grow everything.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 26, 2016
This March 16, 2015 photo shows portraits of now-retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell, right, and his wife, Arasi, at their home in Crescent, Okla. Powell suffers from a psychological wound called "moral injury" after serving as an Army nurse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Arasi, also a soldier who served in Iraq, had received treatment for PTSD. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

In advance of Memorial Day, we’ll talk with Sebastian Junger about vets coming home and missing their “Tribe.” Plus, a WWII veteran remembers life on and off and the battlefield.

 
May 26, 2016
This Jan. 26, 2016 file photo shows a "For Sale" sign hanging in front of an existing home in Atlanta.  Short of savings and burdened by debt, America's millennials are struggling to afford their first homes in the face of sharply higher prices in many of the most desirable cities. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

No more ’empty nest’. A third of millennials now live at home with their parents. We’ll look at what’s still pushing that trend.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment
 
‘Best Of’ 2016 Commencement Speeches
Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpts from a few of the best commencement speeches delivered to the graduating class of 2016.

More »
Comment