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The Iraqi internet comes under fire as military conflict escalates

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As political instability escalates in Iraq, the country's digital infrastructure is showing signs of distress. Kuwait's national news agency is reporting that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked by the country's central telecom, which is currently controlled by government forces. At the same time, the country has been racked with several nationwide internet outages in the past week, including a three-hour outage on Thursday that took more than 80% of the country's traffic offline. Data from the content delivery network Akamai confirms the drop. It's still unclear whether the broader outages are a result of damaged infrastructure, a conscious effort by the government, or a move by rebel forces.

The conflict drew attention this week as ISIL forces seized control of portions of northern Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. Local Shiite clerics have urged Iraqis to retaliate, as reported by the Associated Press. Speaking to the press this morning, President Obama said he would not send US troops into the country, but was reviewing other options for supporting the Iraqi government. "This is a regional problem," the president told reporters, "and it is going to be a long-term problem."