Iraq: Situation Update

Last year one well-meaning friend of mine said that when it came to foreign policy Barack Obama was elected to end the wars. Clearly she wasn’t saying that Obama was going to end war, but you never know what’s in the mind of some people who get their news primarily from MSNBC and the Huffington Post.

War clearly hasn’t ended in Iraq, despite the fact that the United States had things in pretty good shape in 2008 after the success of the troop surge. Obama didn’t care about that pretty good shape, and because of his naiveté and his desire to please others who share his naive view of the world, his actions have caused a great deal of unnecessary suffering on the part of the Iraqi people.

What follows are excerpts from a few reports about what’s happening in Iraq. Evidently the Iraqi military hasn’t completely collapsed, and it’s not fighting back against those who wish to set up an Islamic state.

From a KGS NightWatch email:

Iraq: Situation update. Prime Minister al Maliki traveled to Samara, 95 kms north of Baghdad, carrying the message that the Iraq government and armed forces are fighting back and gradually recapturing the cities overrun by the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Al-Maliki went to Iraq for a security meeting, according to an official statement.

ISIL fighters have not moved against Baghdad, but did outflank al-Maliki by seizing towns near the border with Iran, east of Samarra.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the senior Shiite religious leader in Iraq, called on citizens to form militias and fight the Sunni ultra-extremists today. “Citizens who can carry weapons and fight the terrorists in defense of their country, its people and its holy sites should volunteer and join the security forces,” the spokesman said.

Comment: Al Maliki is trying to act like a leader in order to stop the panic, but it should stop of its own accord soon. The ISIL attack groups appear to be moving beyond their capability to consolidate gains against a counter-offensive, which is now inevitable. They will be rolled back, eventually, by sheer force of numbers and military power, unless the Sunni tribes go into open rebellion on ISIL’s side.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s call to arms makes sectarian warfare a near certainty. As is his custom, Sistani did not appeal only to Shiite Arabs, but to all citizens of Iraq. Even moderate Sunnis, Christians, Kurds and Turkmens in the past have flocked to his summons or heeded his guidance.

News reports indicate that Shiite volunteers are swamping military intake stations in the Shia heartland near Najaf and Karbala. The last time the Shiite militias went to war, there was a blood-bath of Sunnis.

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From the Wall Street Journal:

Iraqi Military Makes Gains North of Baghdad in Conflict With ISIS
U.S. Moves Aircraft Carrier Into Persian Gulf

Iraqi troops beat back Islamist insurgents in several areas north of Baghdad on Saturday, as the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf.

A battlefield stalemate between Iraqi security forces and their militia opponents persisted into a third straight third day Saturday. Besides some minor advances by Iraq’s military, it was largely quiet as Iraq’s government worked to rebuild the strength of armed forces left battered and humiliated by a startling series of victories last week by a Sunni militia known as the Islamist State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS.

Fighting outside Tikrit, about 87 miles (140 kilometers) north of Baghdad, came as young men queued to join Shiite militias to fight the insurgents. Many of the men were answering calls by a prominent Shiite cleric and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki this week for ordinary citizens to help repel the Sunni militants.

The militants known as ISIS wreaking havoc in Iraq are an ‘Islamist’ group. The terms ‘Islamism’ and ‘Islam’ are often used interchangeably, but there are very distinct differences between them.

Read more: Wall Street Journal

From the Middle East Forum:

An ‘Islamic State’ Is Born

By Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post

In a stunning and deeply significant development, the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organization this week captured the city of Mosul. They then moved on to take Tikrit unopposed and according to reports yesterday were headed toward the capital, Baghdad.

Five-hundred thousand people have fled Mosul in the wake of its conquest by the jihadis. The city, which has an Arab majority population along with large Kurdish and Turkmen minorities, is Iraq’s second largest. Its capture was the latest and most significant success in an offensive launched by the ISIS jihadis a week ago.

It also represents a calamitous defeat for the US-trained security forces of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Read more: Middle East Forum

Lastly, note these two posts (WARNING: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED):

Here are Pics of Obama’s ‘Stable Iraq’: Iraqi Soldiers in Killed Then Dumped In Mass Grave

ISIS photographs detail execution of Iraqi soldiers