These 4 Infographic Maps Will Make You Question What is Really Happening in Iraq

This week the news waves have been filled with the onslaught of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant). They’re recruiting rapidly, gaining increasing funding and, most worryingly, conquering Iraqi controlled territory. But how much territory they really have under their control is debatable – as this series of confusing maps show. One says the group controls most of Iraq, while others show a much more fragmented force, yet close to Baghdad. Take a look at the maps below (you can click on them to get a closer look offsite):

A map produced by the Financial Times and tweeted by @WilliamsJohn on 12th June shows a very significant area as the battleground, covering a large swathe of the Nineveh oilfields:

A map produced by The Economist tweeted by @jamesdenselow on 13th June suggests ISIS have control of the majority of Iraq, including the south:

But a map from the @newscientist again shows a much large ISIS controlled area bearing down on Baghdad. ISIS’ claim is that it holds nearly all of Syria and most of Iraq, including Baghdad:

Then ISIS’ influence seems to have again in this map from @indiapostlive – although it now looks like ISIS have overrun Baghdad:

It all seems rather extraordinary given the magnitude of ISIS forces. According to this graphic from @guardian, the forces are miniscule:

Apparently Iraqi forces have been deserting in droves and leaving enormous amounts of weapons to the breakaway group. But a force of 250,000 frontline troops is 3x the size of the British armed forces, yet ISIS are making rapid games. Something is not all what it seems in what is being reported, to the reality on the ground.

James Carson graduated from the University of York with a degree in English and History and have a keen interested in both World Wars and popular science - particularly space.