2014-06-12

Iraq

Washingto Post: "This is not what my friends fought and died for."
I returned to a Pentagon that was in denial, but I found a few who believed that a new strategy of building Iraqi forces to take over the fight could eventually succeed. We struggled to provide trainers and equipment and to find ways to partner with our Iraqi comrades but managed to succeed in the nick of time, pulling Iraq into a possible win. That was the surge.

Then, by declining to provide a long-term security assistance force to an Iraq not yet able to handle the fight itself, we pulled defeat from the jaws of victory and increased the peril our Iraqi friends would face. By not training and equipping Syrian freedom fighters in the summer of 2012, we provided an opportunity for al-Qaeda to rebuild strength in the region. The renewed Sunni insurgency in Iraq joined with the worst of the anti-Assad forces in Syria present a threat greater than the fragile Iraqi government can handle on its own. ...

Amir Taheri in the New York Post: How ths Islamists bounced back.
Seven years after US forces under Gen. David Petraeus drove them out of Iraq’s Anbar province, a coalition of desperados led by Sunni Muslim jihadists have scored their biggest victory by seizing Mosul, Iraq’s third most populous city.

On Wednesday, they underlined their appetite for conquest by making a dash for another big city, oil-rich Kirkuk.

Who are these people and what do they want? More important: Could they win? ...