On Iraq, It Is Amazing What This White House Does Not Know

Obama’s foreign policy team was caught totally clueless about the insurgency in Iraq.

Walter Russell Mead

There is a big harvest of bad news from the country formerly known as Iraq this June 12. The country’s armed forces have collapsed in the north and ISIS fighters are streaming south from Mosul. A vicious band of terrorists and thugs whose leaders were too bloodthirsty and unscrupulous for al-Qaeda now controls a significant swath of territory from the middle of Syria through the center of Iraq. The Kurds meanwhile have seized the moment to take Kirkuk, and they are unlikely to leave it voluntarily. A dramatically weakened government in Baghdad will now be more dependent than ever on Iran, and Jordan is now exposed to attacks from radicals along its long and poorly guarded eastern frontier. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in terror for their lives, and gruesome executions and attacks are already being reported from the cities that have fallen to the terrorists. The foreign fighters with them, including, apparently, many Westerners, are acquiring expertise that will make them significantly more dangerous when they return to their home countries…

…Yet none of that, grim as it is, is the worst news in the papers today. The worst news about Iraq comes from Washington, where we learn in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that senior White House officials acknowledge that these events have surprised them. They apparently had no idea that the Iraqi army was a hollow shell, that ISIS was planning something, and that the sectarian war was about to take a dramatic lurch for the worse.

It is amazing what this White House does not know…



The complete article, with video, is at Time.com


Related: From the Saudi Gazette, 5/21/14: Militants seek an Islamic state on Syria-Iraq border

BEIRUT — Militants have launched a fresh bid to take over the Syria-Iraq border area and set up a so-called Islamic state they can control, rebels, activists and a monitoring group say.

“Their name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Their goal is to link together the two areas (Syria, Iraq) to set up their state and then to continue spreading,” said activist and citizen journalist Abdel Salam Hussein…


And on 12/11/2013, Reuters wrote, Al Qaeda tightens grip on western Iraq in bid for Islamic state

In Iraq’s western desert near the Syrian border, in a landscape of sand and rock, a signpost announces that you are entering al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A short video of the sign was broadcast on jihadi websites last month and reflects a long-held goal of al Qaeda fighters to establish an Islamic emirate.

ISIL insurgents have increased attacks on strategic targets in parts of western Iraq in the past three months in a bid to make their putative state a reality, security officials and analysts say.

“Al Qaeda believes these areas do not have strong security and social ties to the central government so it would be easy to separate them from Iraq,” independent analyst Hashim al-Habobi said. “This is the goal of all these attacks.”…


Graphic Video: ISIS Death Squads Killing Without Mercy on Iraqi Roads

…ISIS killed at least 161 people this week alone in a swift territory takeover. The cities of Tikrit, Baiji, Duluiya, al-Dour and Yathrib have fallen to the militants, and nothing is stopping them from taking more.

After watching what these groups are capable of, it’s clear that the War on Terror is far from ever winding down, thanks in large part to our own government’s intervention.

The footage (of the video at the link) contains extremely graphic content.


The Syrian Civil War Has Merged With Iraq

With the news that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – more commonly known as ISIS – control Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah, the Syrian Civil War has finally crossed the border and merged with the brewing Iraqi civil war…

…ISIS is no group to simply shrug off…


Al-Baghdadi, a brutal contender for bin Laden’s mantle, emerges in Iraq (video)

U.S. officials monitoring the fast-shifting landscape of al Qaeda-inspired militancy in the Middle East in recent years have been on the lookout for a single figure who might emerge to match the jihadist charisma and global mystique once held over Sunni Muslim extremists by Osama bin Laden.

The name on many lips this week is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the elusive, cutthroat and unconditionally feared leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is now wreaking havoc in Iraq…


Repent or die: al-Qaeda forces announce rules for Iraqi territory they now control (video)

…All Muslims in the city have been instructed to attend mosque for the five daily prayers…

Any one of its members who breach this promise will have their hands cut off.

“No drugs, no alcohol and no cigarettes allowed,” it added.

No public gathering other than those organised by ISIS will be allowed at any stage. No guns will be allowed outside of its ranks…

Outlining its sectarian bias it declared all shrines, graveyards and monuments will be destroyed.

Finally all women must dress in concealing clothing that preserve decency. Females should only go outside “if necessary”…


A man is executed in a new video released by ISIS

A man is executed in a new video released by ISIS


CAJ note: If there was ever an argument to uphold–or create–a law akin to America’s Second Amendment, this is it.


Update: Samantha Power lets slip the hashtags of war. Read more at Althouse



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