A 5-minute Beginner’s Guide to the insurgency in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham, courtesy of a discussion on Monday morning with BBC West Midlands:

Listen to discussion from 1:17.31

Among the points:

1. ISIS is one of the leading forces in the insurgency but it is not the only one;
2. One has to be careful of exaggerations of ISIS’ wealth and of its sources of support — it is backed by private groups from the Middle East and beyond, rather than a particular State ;
3. ISIS is acting upon and exploiting long-standing grievances against Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ;

There is also a notable aside on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s intervention this weekend over Iraq:

Blair’s primary interest is in protecting his own reputation rather than giving us an analysis of what is happening in Iraq…..

When you remove Saddam Hussein through an invasion, when you have a war which leads to the deaths of 100,000s of Iraqis, when almost all services are destroyed, when the infrastructure of the country is shot, you leave a vacuum where different groups are going to struggle to take power….

ISIS just happens to be one of a number of groups who have moved into the vacuum.