Hussein Al-alak on the Voice of Russia

Islamists fighting under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) say they have fully captured the country's main oil refinery at Baiji, north of Baghdad. 

It comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry met Kurdish leaders in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil after he visited Baghdad and pledged US support for Iraqi security forces. 

Mr Kerry said Iraq's very existence was under threat. VoR's Brendan Cole hosts a debate. Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has strongly suggested that his region would seek formal independence from the rest of Iraq. 

ISIS have overrun a swathe of territory in the north and west including the second-biggest city, Mosul. They are bearing down on a vital dam near Haditha and have captured all border crossings to Syria and Jordan. 

What kind of threat do they pose to the region and the west? Is it an existential one? Will the current borders of Iraq last? 

To discuss this Brendan Cole is joined by: 

Felicity Arbuthnot, a journalist specialising in the Middle East and Iraq 

Sir William Patey, former UK Ambassador to Iraq and adviser to Control Risks 

Jabbar Hasan, director of Iraqi Association in Britain 

Hussein al-Alak, British-based journalist and chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign UK 

Zaid al-Ali, author of the recently published book The Struggle for Iraq's Future

To read the soundbites and to hear the debate, check out the Voice of Russia website or download the podcast.

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