Saddam Hussein in the 1990s and currently Bashar al-Assad -- the heads of the Baath party in Iraq and Syria -- both played the religious card. However, Baathist doctrine in Iraq and Syria is basically irreligious. The Saudis are using religion as their excuse now, labeling the recent mass executions as preserving their religion when they are actually a message to frighten their citizens into submission.
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If There Are U.S. Air Strikes, They Should Not Be For the Purpose of Propping Up the Failed Iraqi State
While the Iraqi military, with some help from Iran and the U.S., may be able to hold on to what is left within its purview, it's hard to see it reclaiming much territory without major foreign interventions. Which could easily backfire, both for Tehran and Washington, the only capitals which might be involved.