Photo Essay

  • Tribal fighters and members of Iraqi security forces take part in an intensive security deployment on the outskirts of Diyala province June 14, 2014.
  • Men brandish their weapons during a recruitment drive for a militia to defend Baghdad against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad on June 18, 2014.
  • Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, on a street in city of Mosul on June 12, 2014.
  • Iraqi tribesmen hold up their weapons as they gather to show their readiness to join Iraqi security forces in the fight against militants who have taken over several northern Iraqi cities on June 16, 2014 in Baghdad.
  • Many Tal Afar residents, ethnic minority Shiite Turkmen, fled towards Sinjar, a town in northwestern Iraq, due to the ongoing clashes around Mosul, Iraq on June 16, 2014. 
  • Iraqi women walk at the site of a car bomb explosion in the mainly Shiite Sadr City district in Baghdad on June 18, 2014 which killed at least seven people and wounded 20.
  • Displaced residents of Mosul crowd around a food distribution truck at a refugee camp between Mosul and Irbil, Iraq on June 18, 2014. This United Nations-run camp intended for 30 to 40 families now houses 250 with more arriving each day, fleeing fighting as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extends its control of northern Iraq.
  • Members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces stand guard during an intensive security deployment in Baghdad’s Amiriya district on June 18, 2014.
  • A man carries his rifle as a militia formed to defend the capital parades through the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad on June 18, 2014.
  • Families arrive at a Kurdish checkpoint next to a temporary displacement camp on June 14, 2014 in Kalak, Iraq.
  • Displaced residents of Mosul crowd around a food distribution truck at a refugee camp between Mosul and Irbil, Iraq on June 18, 2014. This United Nations-run camp intended for 30 to 40 families now houses 250 with more arriving each day, fleeing fighting as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extends its control of northern Iraq.
  • Iraqis gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Sadr city, northeast of Baghdad, Iraq on June 17, 2014.
  • Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a military-style training in the holy city of Najaf on June 18, 2014.
  • Families arrive at a Kurdish checkpoint next to a temporary displacement camp on June 14, 2014 in Kalak, Iraq.
  • Families arrive at a Kurdish checkpoint next to a temporary displacement camp on June 14, 2014 in Kalak, Iraq.
  • Iraqi army’s newly recruited men gather on June 18 2014 in the southern Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf following top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s call for Iraqis to take up arms against “terrorists” who have overrun swathes of the country in a major offensive.
  • A member of the Kurdish security forces walks away from a controlled explosion in the town of Tuz Khurmato, north of the capital Baghdad on June 17, 2014.
  • An Iraqi soldier stands in front of trucks carrying volunteers, who have decided to fight along side the Iraqi security forces against Jihadist militants, leaving a recruitment center on June 15, 2014 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
  • Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in the city of Mosul on June 12, 2014.
  • Iraqi families arrive at a checkpoint in the town of al-Muafakiya, west of Irbil, on June 16, 2014, after fleeing their homes.
  • A man walks past near remains of burnt vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces in the northern Iraq city of Mosul on June 13, 2014.
  • Members of the Kurdish security forces take part in a military training in Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on June 18, 2014.
  • A member of the Iraqi security forces checks identification papers at a checkpoint, as security increases in Baghdad on June 16, 2014.
  • Volunteers who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) who have taken over Mosul and other northern provinces, wave from a truck in Baghdad on June 16, 2014.
  • Tribal fighters hold up their weapons as they shout slogans in support of Iraqi security forces in Kerbala on June 17, 2014.
  • Iraqis inspect the site of a car bomb explosion in the mainly Shiite Sadr City district in Baghdad on June 18, 2014 which killed at least seven people and wounded 20.
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Images of Iraq, a nation in crisis

Updated

Three years after the United States military withdrew from Iraq, the country has once again descended into civil strife. A Sunni insurgent group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been cutting a bloody swath through the war-scarred nation, attacking sites like Iraq’s largest oil refinery and seizing control of broad swaths of territory.

The uprising was apparently fueled in part by the authoritarian tactics of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi’ite who has reportedly used his position to thwart Sunni political ambitions and centralize power for his own ends. Iraqi civilians are now trapped between a radical insurgent group and a prime minister who is widely regarded as corrupt and autocratic.

On Thursday, President Obama announced that he was dispatching 300 military advisers to the region in order to help the Iraqi government restore stability. But, he said, no American combat troops would fight again in Iraq.

The above images depict the Iraqi crisis as it unfolded, and as it continues to unfold.