Since the ISIS fighters seized parts of Fallujah and Ramadi, two towns in al-Anbar, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has threatened an all-out assault on the Sunni-majority cities. Anbar has a history of being an al-Qaeda stronghold — a third of over 4,000 American casualties during the war were in the province. Since America withdrew the last troops in 2011, Iraq has suffered from a security vacuum. The war in Syria has given the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, al-Qaeda's avatar, a wider base and a rallying call.
But the Islamic State also flourished because there has been passive acceptance by Iraqi Sunnis who believe that their government and security forces are against them. The Iraqi army is so unpopular in Anbar that it withdrew to the outskirts, adding to the insecurity. Meanwhile, the Indian government has come to know the whereabouts of the 40 Indians kidnapped by the miltia in Iraq. Diplomatic efforts are on to secure their safe release.