2014-06-11

Iraq

Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, has fallen to the islamist ISIS forces, and at this point it appears inevitable that Baghdad will soon follow. Here is a roundup of recent news items and articles.

New York Times has a map of where things stand now. It doesn't look good for Baghdad.

Debka: Al-Qaeda set to march on Baghdad.
Under its commander, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Levant – ISIS - formed up Wednesday night, June 6, to march on Baghdad in two columns – one from Tikrit, which fell a few hours earlier, to Taji, just 20 km from the capital; the second from Tuz Khormato, 55 km south of the northern oil center of Kirkuk.
The Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the last two divisions and six mechanized brigades, totaling 50,000, still operational out of his million-strong army, to build a defensive line to save Baghdad and the seat of Iraqi government from the enemy.

But it remains to be seen how these units perform, given the way the 3rd and 4th divisions supposed to have defended Mosul and the central Salahuddin province melted away under Al Qaeda onslaughts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11.

Al-Baghdadi has assigned the second column heading for Baghdad the additional task of wrapping up Islamist control of the eastern province of Diyala on the Iranian border.

The first column will approach the capital from the north; the second from the east. Suicide bombers have meanwhile fanned ahead of the columns to smash the roadblocks and military posts set up in their path to check their advance
This week, Muslim extremists worldwide acclaimed the ISIS chief their hero. ...

Al-Arabiya: ISIS forces seize Turkish consulate in Mosul.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed: Will ISIS also seize Baghdad?

Long War Journal: ISIS takes Bayji, Tikrit.

Belmont Club: The day of reckoning.
The Tweets are tell of a monumental collapse. ”Jesus. “30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters … Surreal scenes in #Mosul, #Iraq as US trained troops leave behind their uniforms and flee from #ISIS to #Kurdistan. ”

Michael Yon Tweets: “Mosul: Iraq Crumbling before our eyes”. The Internet is rife with pictures of al-Qaeda triumphantly inspecting millions, perhaps billions of dollars worth of captured, American made military equipment. It’s like Vietnam all over again, except this time the NVA are coming to New York.

Unless the rot is stopped, ISIS will soon be at Baghdad’s gates and al-Qaeda’s affiliates will soon possess one, perhaps two major Middle Eastern countries and trillions of dollars in oil resources. Libya, Iraq, perhaps Syria. They will be on the border of Saudi Arabia, able to credibly menace the energy lifeline of the Western world, a fact that can only play to Putin’s advantage.

The dangers of abandoning such a vital region were always obvious. Those who have not read my 2010 post, The Ten Ships, might take the time to do so now. It’s good for a laugh. It explains how Obama’s political petulance made him ignore fundamental military strategy by ignoring the obvious center of Islamic militant gravity in favor of redeploying the farm to a talking-points fantasy campaign in Afghanistan. It’s good for a laugh because it seems impossible, in retrospect, why it was not so blindingly obvious to the White House.

There’s nothing in place available to stop al-Qaeda. ...