Vice President Biden wrote in the Washington Post last Friday that:

ISIL seeks to rip Iraq apart in its quest to establish a caliphate. But Iraq’s communities have started to unite in pushing back.

Since more than 13 millionIraqis cast their ballots in April despite threats from ISIL to kill anyone who voted, Iraqis have convened a new parliament, selected a speaker and president and designated a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to form a new government.

These steps are meaningful because they show that Iraqis have begun to understand that they must rise above their differences. And that, when they do, they can succeed — not only in uniting the country but in defeating ISIL.

Since the publication of those encouraging thoughts, as John Walcott, Zaid Sabah and Lisa Lerer of Bloomberg report:

U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to have Arabs take the lead in combating Islamic State suffered a setback when Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after Shiite gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque.

The killings in Diyala province derailed at least temporarily attempts to form an Iraqi government with bigger roles for Sunni Arabs and Kurds that would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group. Tensions remained high today after a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden car into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, killing at least 11 ...

And, from Syria comes the troubling news that, as Donna Abu-Nasr of Bloomberg reports:

Islamic State militants seized a Syrian air base, dislodging forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad from the last stronghold in the northeastern Raqqa province.

With the capture of the air base, Raqqa becomes the first province fully outside Assad’s control, further cementing the Islamic State’s hold inside its self-declared caliphate and allowing it to focus on the neighboring Aleppo province. The group has already seized villages and towns held by other rebels in Aleppo.

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