ISIS Army Seizes More Territory in Iraq and Lebanon, Threatens Baghdad

Curtis Kalin
By Curtis Kalin | August 5, 2014 | 3:38 PM EDT

Fighters from the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (formally ISIS), have captured towns in Lebanon; marking the third nation in the Middle East to be invaded by the Sunni-extremist terror group.

The battle for the Lebanese town of Arsal began on Friday and continued through Monday when ISIS gained a strong foothold. They have not formally declared the conquered territory part of the “Islamic State” as of yet.

The attack on Lebanon comes on the heels of more victories by the terrorist group in the northern, Kurdish portions of Iraq. Fighters there captured the Mosul Dam. With control of this dam, comes the immense power to deliberately flood large Iraqi cities along the Tigris River and withhold water from thousands. That capability comes just as ISIS released the second issue of its magazine featuring this threat: "It's either the Islamic State or the flood."

As ISIS snatches up more oil fields in northern Iraq, they do not merely destroy the facilities. They sell the oil on the black market. Experts estimate the group makes more than $3 million per day selling oil they seized in Iraq and Syria.

Newsweek also reports that ISIS is using old tunnels built throughout Iraq by Saddam Hussein to “outfox Iraqi troops” and march “dangerously close to Baghdad with the support of heavily-armed Sunni tribesmen.” Economist Andrew McKillop writes of the dire economic consequences that ISIS capturing Baghdad would cause. He likened it to the OPEC oil embargo of the 1970’s. His title of when, not if, ISIS takes Baghdad, is possibly the most ominous indication of the piece.

Finally, lest we forget that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has stated clearly that the Islamic State and the United States “will soon be in direct confrontation.”

As the media moves on to other foreign policy crises sprouting up worldwide, the advance of a militant terrorist army too extreme for al-Qaeda remains significant and dire.