The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant shocked many with its swift capture of Iraqi cities. Despite US vows of a lighter military footprint, other countries still seem to expect it to step in.
Al Qaeda offshoot ISIS, which overran the Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, is already moving on to its next target. Its rapid progress indicates some local backing among Sunnis.
The city's takeover by Al Qaeda insurgents is a devastating military setback for the Maliki government – and a measure of the political failure of post-Saddam Iraq.
Militants from ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, now control much of Iraq's largest city in the north, underscoring the group's growing strength and the failure of Iraqi troops to repel insurgents.
This week's roundup of Good Reads includes the challenge of winning Iraqis and Afghans asylum in the US, how a broadband monopoly came to be, an essay by an Israeli sniper, new ancient evidence of human activity, and the evolution of the submarine.
With a string of bombings today in Baghdad, and Sunni militants still in control of parts of Anbar Province, Prime Minister Maliki's iron fist does not seem to be deterring insurgents.
World leaders are urging Prime Minister Maliki to look beyond military means to resolve Iraq's crisis, that has killed more than 900 in January alone.
Today's bombings come on top of ongoing violence in Iraq's Anbar Province, where Al Qaeda-linked fighters have tried to take over cities.
Iran turned down a limited US invitation to the Syria peace conference, but the two have an increasingly common interest in stemming the rise of Sunni militancy in places like Iraq.
The US promised to support Iraq's fight to oust Al Qaeda fighters from occupied cities in Anbar Province – but no boots on the ground. Iran has also offered support.
The rise in bombings across Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan threatens to match levels of violence not seen since the Iraqi insurgency in the late 2000s.
Fatin Yousef outlasted the US invasion and civil war, but threats and kidnappings finally drove her out of Iraq. Only one of her 60 relatives remains there.