Void Left By US Forces Being Filled By Islamist Groups
In the biggest defeat so far, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) forced 500,000 Iraqi residents to flee en route to overtaking the city of Mosul, an event that contributed to the decision by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to declare a state of emergency.
Mosul was the last major urban area to be pacified by American troops.
Reporters for The Daily Beast, Eli Lake and Jamie Dettmer, assert the development is “terrible news for America’s few allies left in Iraq” as ISIS has developed from a “terrorist menace to a military force capable of over-running an army the U.S. military trained for nearly a decade” and “calls into question the American government’s decision to withdraw the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.”
They conclude: Three years later that withdrawal now appears premature. ISIS now controls or can operate with impunity in a great stretch of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, making it militarily the most successful jihadi movement ever.
In fact, Iraq’s foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said al Qaeda off-shoots presented a “mortal threat” to Iraq and should be cause for concern and cooperation.
The seizure of Mosul also make Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the most powerful man in Iraq. It also represents “an object lesson of much that is wrong in Iraq and the region — growing sectarian tensions at home and a festering civil war over the border in Syria,” and exposes the weakness of the US-trained Iraqi army, according to CNN’s Nic Robertson.
Shortly after taking Mosul, another Qaeda group moved closer to taking control of Iraq’s biggest refinery in Baiji, a town north of Baghdad.