Iraq is chaos as the government battles with an Al Qaeda splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has responded to the situation by ordering an aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, to the Persian Gulf. It is supposed to arrive sometime tonight.
The Defense Department explains in a press release that "the order will provide President Barack Obama additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq."
Reuters notes that the carrier "will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun."
President Barack Obama stated earlier this week, "We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces, and I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead."
"Iraq's military claimed Saturday it had regained key northern territories, including most of Salaheddin province, which includes Samarra, from ISIS, a claim that conflicted with reports from security officials in Baghdad and Samarra, who told CNN that 60 percent to 70 percent of the province remains in the hands of ISIS," reports CNN.
Reason's J.D. Tuccille explained a bit about ISIS yesterday:
Founded in 2004 and originally affiliated with al-Qaeda, ISIS fell out with its parent organization, which it may now be overshadowing. ISIS is said to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians. The group has since expanded into Syria, and flourished during that country's civil war. The organization's goal is to establish an Islamic state in the region—an accomplishment that it appears to be much closer to accomplishing than most people would have believed just weeks ago.
For more Reason coverage of Iraq, click here.