Iraqis are once again having to face the harsh reality of conflict as the numbers of those killed in fighting grows, but for ISIL, known as the Islamic Army of Iraq and the Levant, these are times for celebrating.
Now a powerful force in the oil town of Baiji, recent fighting there has seen them reportedly take control of 75 percent of Iraq’s largest refinery.
Baghdad refuses to admit defeat but has just announced a brief lull in fighting to allow the remaining workers there to be evacuated.
Disruption to oil output is already having a major impact, in Kirkuk petrol shortages are fueling queues at the pump.
Shiites around Kirkuk have been besieged of late as Sunni militants under the banner of ISIL surged in the area, later dueling with Kurdish forces.
One local resident spoke of the impact of recent fighting:
“I have been waiting since 6am for only 30 litres. I’ve already consumed ten litres while waiting in the queue. This is an unacceptable situation. Allah does not accept this situation, only 30 litres in Iraq — the great country of oil.”
The oil fields of Basra have seen mass evacuations of foreign workers, whilst fighting has mainly been isolated to the country’s north, fear is creeping further south.
Iraq’s sectarian split is now playing out at an international level as neighbouring Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia harden their rhetoric.