5 Things You Need to Know About the Militant Advance on Baghdad

Iraqis flee from advancing militants.

This is the fallout from throwing a country into chaos. Hussein was not a great person or great ruler, but his brutality kept the chaos from taking place.  When he ruled, there was no Al Qaeda or any other militant group inside the borders of Iraq.  For all intents and purposes, he served as the bad guy when we needed one and an ally when that was required.  The US armed Hussein at times, and there’s no shortage of available information on how all that was done.

It’s basically open season as Iraq doesn’t appear to have their act together to fight off this advance. If they could do it on their own, they wouldn’t be asking for US help after they basically kicked us out of their country years ago.  I can’t say that I blame them, however, it would have been better overall had they kept protection close until they could stand on their own.  Under the SOFA agreed to and signed by President Bush, the US removed all combat troops by the designated time.

What irks me about this situation is that, the GOP is wailing about this being the result of failed policy by Obama.  This is the same GOP that has existed solely to deny Obama any policy achievement, no matter how painful it is for America.  We’ve suffered through a credit downgrade and government shutdown because of this, but somehow Obama’s failed policy is the reason that Iraq is in trouble.  Maybe, just maybe, the GOP should have allowed Obama to sign his policy into law first before blaming him.  That would make them a tad bit credible here.

This is also the same GOP that was all gung-ho about invading Iraq more than 10 years ago with no plan of what to do after the invasion.  I don’t trust anyone in DC to do what’s best for America as our military has been fighting non-stop for more than a decade now.  If they want to send American military personnel to Iraq, then they should lead by example and go first.  At least that’s how I feel about it.  On the other hand, we screwed up that country, so we should be decent enough to fix it if they will allow us to.  Last time we tried, we got kicked out, but I’m guessing that Iraqi leaders are now regretting that decision.

TIME

It took five days for an extremist splinter group of al-Qaeda to occupy the city of Mosul, one of the biggest cities in Iraq and 250 miles north of Baghdad. A day later the group, once known as al Qaeda in Iraq, and now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria to reflect its broader role in the region, advanced on former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. A 60-vehicle convoy of ISIS units rolled into Baiji on Wednesday to take the country’s largest oil refinery. In each instance the Iraqi security forces dropped their weapons and melted away, effectively ceding nearly a third of the country to a militant organization so extreme that even al-Qaeda has repudiated it. Meanwhile ISIS is cementing control over a large swath of eastern Syria. As the militants push towards Baghdad, here are the five things you need…

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16 thoughts on “5 Things You Need to Know About the Militant Advance on Baghdad

  1. This really scares me. I pray that President Obama does not allow himself to be steamrollered into yet another war in the ME!

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    • My gut instinct tells me our Air Force personnel will be there dropping bombs within a week. We don’t need to be there, but ISIS don’t need to get to Baghdad either.

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  2. Have to partially disagree. Iraq wasn’t really in chaos when the U.S. pulled out. Of course, Al Queda, etc were probably just sitting back biding their time for us to leave just like they (and the Taliban) are doing now in Afghanistan. A lot of this is on the heads of the current Iraqi leaders. In my opinion, they weren’t nearly as strong as they thought they were.

    I suspect you are right about air strikes but they’ll be of limited success if the Iraqi government and troops can’t stand on their own two feet. Even with all today’s modern warfare technology, there’s still only one way to control territory and that’s with boots on the ground. The question is can Iraq keep enough of its troops around to put up a fight.

    Maybe the Kurds can manage to break away and stay in control of their own destiny. Not a lot to be positive about for the rest of them. I would imagine that Iran is playing a large part in this, too, as who benefits more from a destabilized Iraq than Iran? (In my opinion, the WMD evidence that set all this off was probably an Iranian disinformation campaign, that worked from the Iranian stand point. It got rid of Sadaam, weakened Iraq and therefore strengthened Iran’s hand).

    It’s a cluster to be sure and we’ll see it all repeated in Afghanistan in a year or two.

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    • Yeah, I’d say Iraq wasn’t in chaos when we pulled out, but I think it’s exactly for the reason you stated. People were just biding their time until they could rain down pain on each other.

      People are trying to blame Obama for this, but it’s the fault of the Iraqi government. They had two chances to negotiate a protection agreement with the US to help them until they could protect themselves. Also, the government could have been inclusive of all, Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd instead of simply doing what Hussein had previously done.

      This is a no-win situation for us. We destabilized this country. Whether we were set up by faulty intel or by zealots wanting war remains to be seen. Democracy can’t be forced at the barrel of a gun, and it won’t be accepted by those who don’t choose to accept it.

      Until Iraq figures out what it wants to the betterment of all its citizens, there will be much more war coming down the pipeline.

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  3. There should be no surprises here when looking at the religious demographic make up of the country (with emphasis on the Shiite and Sunni), the issues that took place under Saddam and the overall larger picture of regional dominance ie Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Once the majority of the population (Shiite) won in the elections it should have been more than known that the Iraqi government would quickly formulate ties to Iran and they did just that.
    This did not only set well with a good portion of the Iraqi Sunni population but didn’t set well with a percentage of Sunnis elsewhere in the Middle East.

    The surge by the US did nothing more than slow down what we are seeing today. The chaos and violence to some degree or another was coming back. It was just a matter of time.

    While Biden and others in the Obama administration (Obama included) did run to take credit for the wind down of the war by saying things were better they were wrong or lying. As I already stated it was just a matter of time.

    Biden was laughed at as a Senator when he said split Iraq into regions. Well folks it appears he was probably more correct than most want to admit. Too bad when he became VP he forgot he said that and played the political games that we all know so well from the majority of politicians at all levels.

    The US will probably do some strategic bombing but I’m not sure how much that does in the long term.
    For all the “good intentions” (if that’s what some want to call it) the invasion of Iraq and the lack of foresight or ignoring what was going to come will be a stain on the US for a long time.

    I could go on but I have rambled long enough.

    peace

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  4. Yes, but the WarP resident Dubya told us that the surge was working! Therefore, none of this is happening.
    I think we should send Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, John Woo, Bill Kristol and Condi Rice in so that they can explain to the iraqis how none of this sectarian violence is actually happening. After all, who could possibly have foreseen it?
    (rolleyes)

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  5. Joe Hussein Mama, great to see you here. Was wondering what happened with you. Hope all is well with you & yours. 🙂

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    • That doesn’t make me angry. I just disagree with the idea that Obama had any leverage to negotiate at all.

      By the time he was sworn in, Bush had already signed the SOFA with al-Maliki. Iraq wanted us gone, and no amount of persuasion was going to change that. Maliki was getting lots of pressure from clerics and others who were anti-American, and just as any other politician, he didn’t want to lose that newfound power.

      I’ve seen people try to lay the blame on both Bush and Obama, but I don’t think either one of them is to blame. You can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves.

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    • I haven’t read that particular one before, but I’ve read some along the same lines.

      Had Obama left troops there under the SOFA signed by Bush, our military would have been subject to Iraqi law and all its consequences. I don’t know of a single politician who would agree to that.

      Maliki didn’t want a coalition government. He didn’t try to work with Sunnis to build something that would last. Even King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is on record saying that he didn’t trust Maliki.

      If you think it’s Obama’s fault, that’s fine and good. I’ve been in the situation of trying to help someone who didn’t want help. I know it when I see it.

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  6. From the link:

    —Some experts say that given the Iraqis’ concerns about sovereignty, and Iranian pressure, the politicians in Baghdad were simply not prepared to make the hard decisions that were needed to secure parliamentary approval. Others say the Iraqis sensed the Americans’ ambivalence and were being asked to make unpopular political decisions for a modest military benefit.

    Ending the Effort

    On Oct. 21, Mr. Obama held another video conference with Mr. Maliki — his first such discussion since the talks began in June. The negotiations were over, and all of the American troops would be coming home.

    The White House insisted that the collapse of the talks was not a setback. “As we reviewed the 10,000 option, we came to the conclusion that achieving the goal of a security partnership was not dependent on the size of our footprint in-country, and that stability in Iraq did not depend on the presence of U.S. forces,” a senior Obama administration official said.—

    The number of troops went from the 16,000 the generals wanted, to the 10,000 Gates approved, to the 3,000 Obama was willing to leave. That left 3,000 troops to support any repercussions from the tough decisions Maliki would have to make. Obama was the only one willing to leave such a small contingency.

    Gmare:

    “We Should Never Have Left Iraq” was the title of Slate’s article.

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    • Seeing that the Iraqi government wouldn’t agree to the conditions the number is a mute point except for those trying to make a political point.

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    • Your link appears to have conflicting opinions as to the motivations of the Iraqis in making the decision towards the SOFA. As the SOFA was signed prior to the inauguration of Obama, I don’t understand how any of his negotiations had any effect. Did he negotiate prior to the election just in case he won that election in 2008? Obama would have had no authority to negotiate any deal prior to taking office.

      The way I see it, the Iraqis didn’t want us there anymore. Whether Maliki did or didn’t doesn’t matter because he signed the agreement for all American troops to be gone. He refused both Bush and Obama when they tried to renegotiate the deal. If Maliki wanted troops there, it was his decision to make. As people have said, he was offered differing numbers, and he could have accepted any one of those offers. He chose none of them.

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