The current problems taking hold in Iraq were in part due to the civil war taking place in neighboring Syria and the sectarian differences within its own borders.
The current rise in strength of the Islamic State has worried many in Iraq, the Middle East and worldwide.
The group has successfully taken control of large swathes of land in northern Iraq. Their surge across northern Iraq drew the first air strikes from the U.S. since 2011, when the U.S. pulled its troops from the country.
The Islamic State has also warned the U.S. it would attack Americans anywhere if the airstrikes start to hit its members.
A message to Americans in the form of a video was released by the militant group. The video shows an American who had been beheaded during the occupation by the U.S. in Iraq. In a statement on the video in English, the group says it will drown all Americans in blood.
Airstrikes by the U.S. on Islamic State forces in the northern area of Iraq has helped Kurdish forces take back some territory that the militants had captured. The militants have threatened to march all the way to Baghdad.
The most recent advance by the radical militant group, which is an offshoot of al-Qaeda, sent thousands Yazidi, an ethnic minority, as well as Christians fleeing for safety. The advance by the militants also alarmed the government in Baghdad and its allies from the West.
Islamic State, unlike al-Qaeda has thus far been focusing on taking land in Syria and Iraq for its caliphate, not attacking Western targets.
United States President Barack Obama announced at a Monday news conference that the Islamic State militant organization was a threat not only Iraq but the entire Middle East region.