Anyone who has been even glimpsing the headlines in the past few weeks knows that Iraq (and the rest of the Middle East) are facing some real problems. ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) which controls much of Syria seized control of Northern Iraq and laid siege to Baghdad. The conflict is no simple matter - great historic and ethnic tensions of the region as well as the various US foreign policy follies in the area - feed instability and distrust. Vox has produced 27 maps that get at a bit of the complexity of the conflict - click on the link to see details of Iraq's demographic divide (Shia and Sunni Arabs and Kurds), Iraq's oil reserves, 1990 Gulf War battles, the Sunni insurgency of 2006-2008, civilian displacement, and a hypothetical redrawing of what Iraq and Syria might look like in a few years. It seems unlikely this conflict is going to be solved anytime soon and this is an excellent amalagation of maps and information to sink one's teeth into.
The current Iraq crisis began in early June, when the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which already controls parts of Syria, seized much of northern Iraq, including the major city of Mosul. The conflict has roots in Iraq's complicated history, its religious and ethnic divisions, and of course in the Iraq War that began with the 2003 US-led invasion. These 27 maps are a rough guide to today's crisis and the deeper forces behind it.