The Islamic State's assault did not fortuitously start in Mosul, just beyond the so-called Sunni Triangle (areas north and west if Baghdad which are not very rich in oil resources). But, according to Stony Brook Professor Michael Schwartz, the Sunni Triangle "has almost the entire length of the only substantial pipeline that exits the country (to Turkey), a significant refinery in Haditha, and the Baiji petroleum complex, which contains an electrical power plant serving the northern provinces and a 310,000 barrel per day oil refinery producing a third of the country’s refined petroleum", in addition to a "number of small oil fields".
In other words, the Islamic State planned its attack in order to maximize the oil reserves held by Sunnis. The sectarian Maliki government restricted the Sunni share of Iraq's oil revenue following the final departure of the US-led occupation. And now, Sunni extremist belonging to the terrorist group formerly known as ISIS, aided by erstwhile Saddam loyalist and members of Sunni militias known as Sahwa, originally recruited by the US to fight "Al-Qaeda" but now abandoned by the Maliki government, as well as huge numbers of foreign fighters steaming in to join the Jihad in this live front in the intra-Islamic Cold War, have forcibly taken hold of various oil assets. Their possession is hotly contested and intensely fought over. In the end, however bloody the fighting and however fierce the ideological opposition between Sunnis and Shi'ites, "[i]t has always been about the oil, stupid!" according to Professor Schwartz paraphrasing Bill Clinton's speech-writer James Carville.
Whatever you want to say about these people, their leadership has thought through their tactics very, very carefully.
Ultimately, this should be an internal settlement between all the people of Iraq, with a fair power and revenue sharing between the Sunnis and Shiites; unfortunately, it does not appear that the US Government is going to let that happen.
But the assets on the ground in Iraq have been too few, and too late, to really stem the drive of ISIS. And when Baghdad falls, so will the US government's ability to dictate who gets Iraq's oil, and in what currency it will be sold.
This will mean that, for all the blood and money spent, the US government will have lost Iraq twice, militarily, and once economically.
As a Christian pacifist, the older I get, the more viscerally anti-war I become, because I see it not as something which "protects our freedoms" ( it doesn't), but protects private corporate profit.
And hey, I have a great idea; if heads of corporations like wars so much, they, and their kids, should be compelled to fight those wars, and get maimed for life, or die, protecting their profits.
But unfortunately, for these captains of industry, it is always other people's children who are the expendable victims of war, whether they live, or die; that is none of their concern.