Iraq Said to Seek U.S. Strikes on Militants

Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.

But Iraq’s appeals for military assistance have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.

The swift capture of Mosul by militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has underscored how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have converged into one widening regional insurgency with fighters coursing back and forth through the porous border between the two countries. But it has also called attention to the limits the White House has imposed on the use of American power in an increasingly violent and volatile region…

…James M. Dubik, a retired Army lieutenant general who oversaw the training of the Iraqi Army during the surge, summed it up this way: “We should fly some of our manned and unmanned aircraft and put advisers into Iraq that can help the Iraqi Army plan and execute a proper defense, then help them transition to a counter offensive.”


The complete article, with video, is at The New York Times.


Related: Iraq crisis: al-Qaeda forces seize Mosul and Tikrit (video)

…14.40 Militants are battling Iraqi security forces in the central city of Tikrit, officials said. Jihadists have seized a swathe of the north, after taking Iraq’s second city Mosul on Tuesday.
14.30 Follow our live blog of developments in northern Iraq, where Isis forces have now taken control of Tikrit as well as Mosul, and mass beheadings are being reported…

…20.00 The crisis in Iraq isn’t getting much attention in Washington, where the focus is on an unfolding political drama on Capitol Hill. But some of the more hawkish Republican senators are bringing it up, accusing Obama of prematurely withdrawing from Iraq in 2010 and allowing chaos to fill the vacuum.

Here’s Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida:

As much as it may be popular, declaring wars over prematurely and playing down the threats posed by hardened terrorists has not made us safer. It has made us less secure. After significant sacrifices in American lives and financial support for the future of the Iraqi people, we have squandered the gains in that country. We need to ensure our assistance programs to Iraq are adequate to deal with the threats to their stability


All articles H/T Michael Yon’s Facebook page where he is posting from Thailand. Readers who have Facebook accounts are urged to follow his page.


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Ralph Peters: The US is weakest in the Middle East since 1945, Al Qaeda is stronger than ever



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