Oh, dear! Just when you thought the Iraq problem was solved because you haven't heard about it for a while, everything's back to murders, chaos, and terror. What happened?
In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq because of its alleged connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. At the time Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator, ruled the country. He was part of the Sunni minority and suppressed the Shia majority. Iraq was conquered fairly quickly, but the U.S. had no plan for the country. The until-then-suppressed Shia majority took over and began oppressing the Sunnis because suppressing other faiths proven to be such a good idea.
Unsurprisingly, a Sunni rebel uprising began, and terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda trickled into Iraq, and local forces, often former Sunni military, began fighting the U.S. troops and the newly-formed Iraqi state, peaking in a bloody civil war in 2006. Since then, people in Iraq have basically been segregated by religion.
So in a tragic irony of history, the U.S. invasion led to the formation of the very terrorists the U.S. wanted to eliminate in the first place, because Iraq was now the perfect training ground for terrorism.
To understand this complicated conflict better, we need to understand the relationship between the two main branches of the Muslim faith: Shia and Sunni Islam. Sunnis make up about 80% of the Muslim world, and Shia about 20%. And the hardliners on both sides don't like each other very much.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two most powerful players in the game of faiths. They both have no separation of state and religion, domestic problems, and a lot of oil money, and they support groups that fight the other religious orientation. And one of those terror organizations supported by Saudi Arabia was Islamic state in Iraq, or ISI for short.
In 2010, the Arab Spring happened and changed the whole situation in the Middle East. In Syria, dictator Bashar al-Assad didn't think much of resigning and started a gruesome civil war against his own people. The longer the war went on, the more foreign groups joined the fight, most of them for religious reasons and with a goal of building an Islamic state in the region.
在2010年，阿拉伯之春爆發，並改變了中東整個局勢。在敘利亞，獨裁者 Bashar al-Assad(敘國總統)並不想辭職，並發起一場對抗他自己人民的可怕內戰。戰爭持續越久、越多外國組織加入戰爭，他們大部分是為了宗教因素，並帶著於此區域建立伊斯蘭政府的目標。
And one of them was the infamous ISI, which now became the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. They had fought in Iraq for years and had thousands of well-trained and fanatic soldiers. They already quasi-controlled parts of northern Iraq and were very determined to build their religious state. And they changed the game in Syria like no one expected.
他們之一就是惡名昭彰的 ISI，那現在成為伊拉克和敘利亞的伊斯蘭政府，或稱之為 ISIS。他們已在伊拉克戰爭多年，並有數千名訓練有素且狂熱的士兵。他們已經幾乎控制了部分伊拉克北部，且十分堅持要建立他們的宗教政府。他們出乎大眾意料改變了在敘利亞的局勢。
ISIS was so unbelievably violent and radical that soon there was a war with almost every other faction of the Syrian rebel armies. They attacked and killed members of other Muslim terrorist groups. In the territories they controlled they built Islamic state with rules so strict that even the hardliners of Al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia were shocked and withdrew their support.
ISIS has been accused of responsibility for multiple massacres against civilians, countless suicide bombings, the hostage taking of women and children, the executions of their prisoners, and beheadings—all kinds of medieval horrors we would rather not to have to illustrate. And this lovely gathering of human beings recently decided it was time to take more territory in Iraq.
Since the U.S. left Iraq, the Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has monopolized power and discriminated against Sunnis wherever possible. The government of Iraq is widely regarded as being corrupt, incapable, and it's certainly hated by a large part of its citizens.
自美國離開伊拉克後，什葉派的總理 Nouri al-Maliki 已經獨攬權力並竭盡所能四處排擠遜尼派。伊拉克政府被廣為認為貪腐、無能，且絕對受其大部分國民所痛恨。
The Iraqi army consisting of about 300,000 soldiers was created using 25 billion U.S. dollars in tax money, but it's not loyal to its government and has been withdrawing or completely disbanding, giving up city after city, because ISIS has announced that everyone who opposes them will be killed.
由大約三十萬名士兵所組成的伊拉克軍隊，是從稅金中花費兩百五十億美金所打造，但它對其政府並不忠誠，且已經撤退、或是完全解散，一個城市接著一個城市投降，因為 ISIS 已經宣布所有反對他們的人都將被殺害。
They have proven they mean business. By June, 2014, they'd conquered the big chunk of Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. They've stolen hundreds of millions from captured banks, making them the richest terror organization on earth. And they are constantly working on establishing a super medieval religious state.
Iran and the U.S. are even considering working together to fight them. That's how gruesome the situation is. Events in Iraq show again that exploiting the people you've defeated in the war, denying them power, and living in a stake in the rebuilding of the country is just sowing the seeds of the next bat of violence.
Somehow, we have to break the circle.
- 「一陣子、一下子」- For A While
Oh, dear! Just when you thought the Iraq problem was solved because you haven't heard about it for a while...
- 「接管、接手」- Take Over
The until-then-suppressed Shia majority took over and began oppressing the Sunnis because suppressing other faiths proven to be such a good idea.
- 「原先、首先」- In The First Place
So in a tragic irony of history, the U.S. invasion led to the formation of the very terrorists the U.S. wanted to eliminate in the first place...
- 「認真的、不是開玩笑」- Mean Business
They have proven they mean business.