Ben Hubbard has been covering the battle with ISIS for the New York Times. Anderson spoke to him from Baghdad. Here are the five most surprising things we learned from Ben about the leadership of ISIS.
- ISIS' top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has about two dozen deputies.
- These deputies are mostly middle-aged Iraqi men who spent time in U.S. custody.
- About 1/3 of al-Baghdadi's deputies were officers trained in Saddam Hussein's military
- The advantage they bring is to allow ISIS to operate as more of a military, rather than just an insurgency force.
- Ben says the creation of an inclusive Iraqi government is key to a longterm strategy for defeating ISIS.
This is not all Ben Hubbard had to say about ISIS. Watch his full interview with Anderson Cooper.
James Foley was kidnapped in November 2012 while reporting on the conflict in Syria. Today we are learning that the U.S. launched a failed attempt to rescue him and other hostages earlier this summer. Foley has now been beheaded by ISIS terrorists. We want to look back on the courageous way in which he lived his life and the work he was so passionate about.
A risky U.S. military mission in Iraq just wrapped up. A group of Special Forces spent 24 hours on Mount Sinjar and found that there are far fewer Yazidis trapped on the mountain than originally believed. They also report that the humanitarian air drops are helping those who are stuck there. Ivan Watson also got a firsthand look at the humanitarian crisis and reports that the situation in the region is still very desperate.
How does this new information from Mount Sinjar change U.S. plans for dealing with the humanitarian crisis and the threat from ISIS? Wolf Blitzer discussed possible strategies with retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, Quartz Managing Editor Bobby Ghosh and former Delta Force officer Jeff Beatty.
Carl Bernstein is a legendary journalist, author and CNN political commentator. He explains why President Obama's decision to authorize airstrikes in Iraq marks a turning point in his administration's foreign policy.
Warning: this video is violent and may be too difficult for some viewers to watch
It is hard to overstate ISIS' ambition or its thirst for blood. Recently a VICE News filmmaker spent time with ISIS fighters in Syria. He witnesses the grisly end and aftermath of a battle with a Syrian army unit.
What does it take to defeat a force like ISIS, when they are ready to use such brutal tactics? Anderson discussed possible strategies with retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Francona and David Kilcullen, who advised Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Petraeus on counterinsurgency.
President Obama has authorized airstrikes in Iraq targeting ISIS. The announcement comes after the U.S. launched an airdrop operation delivering humanitarian relief to thousands of members of a nearly extinct sect known as the Yazidis. ISIS forced them from their homes and into the surrounding mountains to die without food or water. It isn't just the Yazidis on the run from ISIS. Christians, Kurds and other minorities are fleeing ISIS fighters who are armed with weapons stolen from the Iraqi military. Ivan Watson reports from Irbil, Iraq on the latest on events that led up to President Obama's decision to authorize these airstrikes and airdrops.
The Pentagon's airdrop operation in Iraq is both delicate and risky. Anderson discussed the logistics of all this with Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell, and former White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend.
President Obama authorized targeted airstrikes and a humanitarian relief airdrop after ISIS' latest offensive in Iraq. Over the last few years, ISIS has grown to become one of the world's most brutal and dangerous Jihadist groups. Anderson Cooper looks at how they became so dangerous so fast.
Could ISIS retaliate against the U.S. with an attack on the American homeland? Anderson discussed this ISIS' capabilities with former CIA officer Bob Baer, National Security editor of The Guardian, Spencer Ackerman and Quartz managing editor Bobby Ghosh
On Tuesday evening CNN's Brian Todd tackled the complicated climate that is the political landscape of the Middle East, asking in part whether Ahmed Chalabi will be Iraq's next leader, and in particular whether such a scenario would be a positive development.
With a history of influence over high ranking U.S. leaders, Chalabi has been a divisive figure for years. Now some are calling for him to become Iraq's next prime minister.
Watch the above video, as Todd details Chalabi's checkered past, as well as his role in U.S. foreign policy.
The military success of ISIS has emboldened the radical military group to declare "Caliphate" - an Islamic state spanning large areas from Syria to Eastern Iraq and calling on other muslim groups to pledge their allegiance. The group also posted several propaganda videos online showing evidence of their advances against the Iraqi military. CNN's John Berman speaks with Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon and Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ali Soufan about the latest on ground and how significant is ISIS' claim to leadership of the global Islamist movement.
As the conflict in Iraq continues, both Syria and Iran are reportedly increasing their involvement in the fighting across the border. Syria is allegedly bombing border towns. Iran is flying drones over Iraq and providing guns to the Iraqi government. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, counter-insurgency expert, David Kilcullen, who was advised General David Petraeus in Iraq and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - says it's "highly unlikely that Iraqi military can recapture a lot of the ground lost" to ISIS - Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Watch the video for more, as Kilcullen explains why he believes the Iraqi military and government will not be able to roll back ISIS' advances.