The U.S. Marines — 250 of them, together with carrier air support and Marine Corps Osprey support craft — have been dispatched to save the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the “biggest in the world,” “the size of the Vatican City,” with its swimming pools and skating rinks, from the menace of the offensive directed at Baghdad by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — the new Islamic caliphate sought by the religiously rigorous Sunni counter-crusade.

ISIS already has taken Mosul and a large chunk of northeastern Iraq, and is aimed now at the Shiite shrine city of Samarra and Baghdad itself.

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