Could intervention in Syria have prevented meltdown in Iraq?

posted at 12:01 pm on June 11, 2014 by Noah Rothman

In April, reflecting on his role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed that the Arab Spring which tore a number of Middle East nations apart in 2011-2012 would have also destabilized Iraq if Saddam Hussein been left in power. “You would be facing what you’re facing in Syria now in Iraq,” Blair claimed. That self-congratulatory proclamation seems premature today.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is busy opening up old wounds for Americans who committed blood and treasure to that country’s transition from Hussein’s rule. On Tuesday, ISIS insurgents overran Iraqi defenders in the city of Mosul. On Wednesday, Tikrit, Hussein’s home town, fell to ISIS fighters. Baghdad, where as some reports indicate ISIS already maintains operational capacity, stands just 180 kilometers away.

This map, via the Institute for the Study of War, illustrates ISIS’s borderless theater of operations which stretches from Al-Bab in Syria to Hillah in Iraq.

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“The group looks at Syria and Iraq as one interchangeable battlefield, and its ability to shift resources and personnel across the border has measurably strengthened its position in both theaters,” an American counterterrorism official told The Washington Post.

According to Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, the ISIS represents a reconstitution of al-Qaeda in Iraq. “Most of the leadership went to Syria after being significantly degraded in Iraq,” Vickers recently told a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference.

The Post’s story on the rise of ISIS is troubling for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the indication that the United States may be signaling that the time for containing this threat to regional stability has past.

“Washington will be questioning how to move forward in terms of supporting the Iraqi army,” [Iraq specialist at the Brookings Doha Center. Charles] Lister said. “Every time ISIS captures territory, it’s a reminder that it does so using weapons that have fallen into the hands of the forces the U.S. is trying to counter in the first place.”

This video, featuring an ISIS fighter holding an American rifle and standing in front of a seized Iraqi APC seems to confirm that:

It is possible that the gruesome and precedent-setting Syrian conflict might have been contained within its borders had the Western world acted in 2013, when the political pressure to do so was at its greatest.

A Washington Institute analysis from the summer of 2013, which warned of an impending governmental collapse in Syria and how to prevent it, proposed an option for limited Western intervention with the aim of preventing it spilling over into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. “[T]he United States,” the report advised, “should establish 50- to 80-mile-deep safe areas within Syria along its borders with Jordan and Turkey.”

Critics of intervention often cast the idea of creating a no-fly zone in Syria as too risky for the U.S. pilots and planes that would be involved. But a limited approach focused on border regions would be less perilous, since the regime’s planes and missiles could be shot down using Patriot missile batteries based in Jordan and Turkey or by aircraft flying there. And the safe areas would still allow civilians to take shelter from Assad’s onslaught, keep refugees from flooding into neighboring countries, and enable the international community to funnel in humanitarian aid on a scale that local nongovernmental organizations cannot match.

The report also warned, as others did, of the desire of some anti-Assad fighters to spread the conflict across Syria’s borders in order to erode the Syrian leader’s support structure.

“The main reason such groups have come to play such a big role in the opposition is that the anti-Assad forces have had to turn to the Gulf states for weapons and money — and the sources there have favored the Salafists, which according to some estimates account for up to a quarter of all the opposition fighters,” the report continued. ”The United States could earn the influence it seeks by providing intelligence, military training, and weapons of its own.”

To describe the eventual recipients of advanced American weaponry as unsavory would be an understatement. But the threat to regional stability is so great that those concerns were apparently discarded earlier this year. The United States and Saudi Arabia began a pilot program to supply Syrian revels with sophisticated weaponry for the first time in April, but the move came only after months of fruitless diplomatic efforts to freeze the Syrian conflict. It is, in all likelihood, too little, too late.

As the names of cities within the Sunni Triangle that were seared into the American consciousness in the last decade come to dominate the headlines again, it is worth asking if this dangerous and humiliating development could have been prevented. Had the political will to act been present in 2013, it’s entirely possible that it could have been.


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Thank you President O’bama.

Del Dolemonte on June 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

No, it was too late by then.

What could have prevented the meltdown is a good batch of US Soldiers.

Blame obama entirely on the meltdown in Iraq.

It’s intentional. obama always sides with his bros.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Name one land/people, who are free/freer, due to obama/Hillary, I triple dare you!!!

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Staying in Iraq could have prevented what’s happening.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

I don’t know but a nice big base in Iraq might have.

Cindy Munford on June 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Getting a SOFA agreement and providing security forces until Iraq is fully capable of providing security would have done it.

Sven on June 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Noah, you jumped the gun. Obama scandals are on holiday during Tea Party celebrations.

faraway on June 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Thank you President O’bama.

Del Dolemonte on June 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) couldn’t have done it, without him.

listens2glenn on June 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Noah, no matter what bluegill mopes about, you are a good writer.

Not to worry, ‘we’ll take your head off’ on amnesty :)

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

….let’s ask Hillary!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

On Tuesday, ISIS insurgents overran Iraqi defenders in the city of Mosul. On Wednesday, Tikrit, Hussein’s home town, fell to ISIS fighters. Baghdad, where as some reports indicate ISIS already maintains operational capacity, stands just 180 kilometers away.

Supposedly took over $400 million from the Mosul Bank, some percentage of it in bullion.

What a disaster…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Name one land/people, who are free/freer, due to obama/Hillary, I triple dare you!!!

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Does anarchy = freedom?

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Staying in Iraq could have prevented what’s happening.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Or not going in in the first place…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Or not going in in the first place…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Maybe. But that also could have meant war later, on Saddam’a terms after he had rebuilt his Army.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Iraq
Egypt
Libya
Afghanistan
Pakistan
The Middle East (where 5-years old children train in Hamas camps, where the Pope displays anti-Israel sentiments and actions)
Asia (China building bases in the disputed areas of the sea)
Russia (this is very important)
You name it

All obama-failures. Never forget Hillary, who was his int’l dog.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Does anarchy = freedom?

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Why do I have to be specific on what liberty/freedom means?

I don’t mean anything other by it than purely that.

Name one land/people who are free/freer, due to obama/Hillary. Period.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

All fixes in Islam will be temporary until we make the pain so great people of the Middle East will voluntarily turn on the Imams that preach hate and death. Their goals are not short term, (Think centuries) whereas we are looking for the quick fix!!

Deano1952 on June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Or not going in in the first place…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Are you HiLarry or John Kerry? Or obama?

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

If the hawks were so badly itching to intervene in Syria had to be listened to, we should have been helping Assad. Yeah, he is bloodthirsty anti-Semitic tyrant, and yet his opposition is worse by orders of magnitude.

Rix on June 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

No.

But if there still were a a couple of thousand US troops stationed in Iraq, none of this would be happening.

And remember, the left blamed 9/11 on the US for abandoning A-Stan after the Cold War and allowingit to spiral into civil war.

Ben Hur on June 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Forgot Syria

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Does anarchy = freedom?

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Maybe in Arabic.

Ben Hur on June 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Or not going in in the first place…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

We were already there.

Ben Hur on June 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

All fixes in Islam will be temporary until we make the pain so great people of the Middle East will voluntarily turn on the Imams that preach hate and death. Their goals are not short term, (Think centuries) whereas we are looking for the quick fix!!

Deano1952 on June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Not going to happen without a strike on Mecca or Medina.

nobar on June 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Leaving Iraq like we did, when we did would have been like leaving Germany after WW2 and leaving the Nazis in power. This turn of events was completely and totally foreseeable and more importantly, avoidable.

HotAirian on June 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Are you HiLarry or John Kerry? Or obama?

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Funny… two of those three actually supported the war…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Why do I have to be specific on what liberty/freedom means?

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Because people are confused.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Or not going in in the first place…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Maybe. But that also could have meant war later, on Saddam’a terms after he had rebuilt his Army.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Yes, we would have ended up going in sooner or later anyway.

But let’s not forget that the 2002 Authorization listed 12 different reasons why we were going in-WMDs were only a part of the equation. The violation of dozens of UN sanctions were a major reason too.

And let’s also recall that initially the Chickenhawk Democrats in Congress voted against the Resolution, then demanded (and got) a re-vote after hearing it from their constituents. Talk about tone-deaf…

Del Dolemonte on June 11, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I suspect it’s more exactly the opposite. Not waffling and showing weakness in Iraq in the first place would have prevented Syria. On a different note, nyone else note how the Lefties are incapbale of realizing exactly WHERE Assad GOT the WMD in the first place? lol

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Not going to happen without a strike on Mecca or Medina.

nobar on June 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I’ve been arguing that point for years. Simply announce to the world that the next Islamic attack will result in a counterattack on Islam. Islamic terrorists attack us again and we MOAB Medina. Give the world plenty of warning then follow through on the threat.

HotAirian on June 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM

If the hawks were so badly itching to intervene in Syria had to be listened to, we should have been helping Assad. Yeah, he is bloodthirsty anti-Semitic tyrant, and yet his opposition is worse by orders of magnitude.

Rix on June 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

That was always the Iraq conundrum. Sure, the Hussein clan were gangsters who murdered on a massive scale. But you sure as hell never heard of AQ knocking off banks for $400+ million when they were in charge…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Russia (this is very important)

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Gazprom is posturing for European public opinion. Why abandon the dollar for the Euro? A weaker and less stable currency?

Maybe for the renminbi but not the Euro.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I’ve been arguing that point for years. Simply announce to the world that the next Islamic attack will result in a counterattack on Islam. Islamic terrorists attack us again and we MOAB Medina. Give the world plenty of warning then follow through on the threat.

HotAirian on June 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Really??? Planning preemptive (nuclear?) war on the KSA, a nominal US ally?

I wonder how many US allies there will be after that…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

No, but an administration with a cohesive and effective Middle East strategy would have helped.

heretic on June 11, 2014 at 12:24 PM

On a different note, nyone else note how the Lefties are incapbale of realizing exactly WHERE Assad GOT the WMD in the first place? lol

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

He got them the same way most countries get them… he manufactured them. CIA says he’s been doing it since the 1970′s…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Not going to happen without a strike on Mecca or Medina.

nobar on June 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

For the vast majority of Muslims Islam is a religion. Why alienate them?

Our enemy is politicized totalitarian Islamism. Not Islam.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Really??? Planning preemptive (nuclear?) war on the KSA, a nominal US ally?

Against our better Judgement, but once we achieve energy independence, they will stop pretending to like us.

I wonder how many US allies there will be after that…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Few, initially. If Mecca being obliterated causes a huge (positive) change in Islam, then the Euros who imported them will be happy (or as happy as they could be about not becoming Eurostan).

nobar on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Had the political will to act been present in 2013, it’s entirely possible that it could have been.


What a mind numbing, simplistic statement …

Let’s deal in FACTS, Noah.

73% of American casualties in Afghanistan have occurred during Obama’s tenure.

In a little over 5 years Obama has had 3 times the casualties Bush had in 7 years … and this is the “good” war according to Obama.

With ALL of Obama’s political will (in reality, a very tiny thing of little consequence) Afghanistan has been a colossal disaster despite having the support of the country’s government.

Removal of forces from Iraq was another act of Obama’s political will – which is a far more proximate cause of the meltdown in Iraq.

The mind reels at what Obama’s waffling political will with regard to Syria would have resulted in for the Middle East.

Welcome to Hot Air, Noah. I hope you can step up your game because this weak azz stuff won’t cut it.

PolAgnostic on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

OT: Both Hank Johnson and Chuck Hagel are both on CSPAN at the same time….don’t miss it! LOL

d1carter on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

That was always the Iraq conundrum. Sure, the Hussein clan were gangsters who murdered on a massive scale. But you sure as hell never heard of AQ knocking off banks for $400+ million when they were in charge…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM

It was only a ‘conundrum’ as we utterly refused to replace Hussein with a Western Christian leader and backed him to the hilt. You know, like England used successfully the world over for a few centuries.

LawfulGood on June 11, 2014 at 12:27 PM

BREAKING: Militants In Iraq Now Richer Than Some Small Countries…

Just in: Iraq confirms Islamic Militants looted $429 million from Mosul banks, making them richer than some small countries – @WilliamsJon

— ABC News (@ABC) June 11, 2014

ISIS On Verge Of Seizing Iraq’s Largest Oil Refinery…

Resist We Much on June 11, 2014 at 12:28 PM

America has been b*tchin for years to the Shite Iraqis to let the Sunni Iraqis have more power. Now they are taking it. What is there to complain about?

Me, I’m watching a minor Sunni/Shia civil war with America as the dupe waiting offstage for another expensive walk on role in the mysterious east. If the play wasn’t a tragedy it would be a comedy.

BL@KBIRD on June 11, 2014 at 12:29 PM

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Bzzzt . . . . chemical signatures EXACTLY the same as Saddam’s. Conveniently forget the massive truck convoys from Iraq to Syria just before we invaded?

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Who is supporting issis? The Saudis. And who is supporting the Saudis? The US. This is the clusterf$@@k, incesteous relationship that has been fracking the Middle East for a long time.

coolrepublica on June 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Bzzzt . . . . chemical signatures EXACTLY the same as Saddam’s. Conveniently forget the massive truck convoys from Iraq to Syria just before we invaded?

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

…shhhhhhhh!….quiet you!…do you want the media…to catch on?

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Bzzzt . . . . chemical signatures EXACTLY the same as Saddam’s. Conveniently forget the massive truck convoys from Iraq to Syria just before we invaded?

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Boy, the desperation over those missing WMD’s just never stops with some, does it?

Just for you, PJ

Syria‘s CW program began in the mid-1970s, and its facilities are known to have successfully produced VX and sarin nerve agents as
well as mustard blister agents

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:35 PM

coolrepublica on June 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Because it’s always the fault of the evil imperialists, right? Put down the Chomsky and have a nice shade grown, fair trade latte.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Syria‘s CW program began in the mid-1970s, and its facilities are known to have successfully produced VX and sarin nerve agents as
well as mustard blister agents
JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Yes, they had their own program, but Saddam had to get rid of a lot and Syria was more than willing to take it off their hands.

Sven on June 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Bzzzt . . . . chemical signatures EXACTLY the same as Saddam’s. Conveniently forget the massive truck convoys from Iraq to Syria just before we invaded?

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The next thing you’ll be telling me is that the Israeli’s destroyed a secret nuclear facility in the desert. Boy, some people the nerve. ;-)

reddevil on June 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Our enemy is politicized totalitarian Islamism. Not Islam.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Ever hear the “moderate Muslims” speak out after 9-11, the Nigerian kidnapping, bombings that kill hundreds of people, etc.? Neither have I. Perhaps the majority of “moderate Muslims” don’t have a problem with Islamic terrorism.

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Could intervention in Syria have prevented meltdown in Iraq?

Maybe the ‘Chosen One’ could have negotiated an extended basing agreement in Iraq?

reddevil on June 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Our enemy is politicized totalitarian Islamism. Not Islam.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

That made me smile. Please describe how to know each from the other*.

*no quoting Bush or Bark………..**

** or Clinton or Bush or Carter or any President since ’48…..

BL@KBIRD on June 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Could intervention in Syria have prevented meltdown in Iraq?

George Bush sent troops into Iraq, in part, to keep a promise made decades earlier by John F. Kennedy: “We shall pay any price, bear any burden for the success of liberty!” President Obama is attempting to make, it seems, the deaths and sacrifice made by our military to keep that promise ALL FOR NOTHING!

Obama has been focused solely on ENDING THE WAR…not ‘WINNING’ the war. He has bragged that HE ended the war, HE pulled our troops out, HE brought our troops home…. Thank GOD, Obama was not President during WWII because all of Europe would be speaking GERMAN right now, as Obama would have been more concerned with QUITTING THE FIGHT than with DEFEATING THE ENEMY.

Mosul, a city won at a significant cost from terrorists / insurgents, was JUST taken over by terrorists. The sacrifice made by our military was just rendered ‘MOOT’ by Obama’s decision to sabotage the deal to work out an agreement that would allow our troops to stay and by pulling our troops out before the Iraqi troops / Defense Force was fully ready to stand up on their own.
– RE-TAKING Mosul will be a huge endeavor and will cost another great acrifice. If Terrorists take over all of Iraq again so quickly now, every sacrifice made to liberate Iraq will have been rendered pointless by this President who is more concerned with abandoning the job before it is done than getting the job done.

JFK, again, said, “We shall pay any price, bear any burden for the success of liberty!”

Obama says, “We shall abandon anyone in pursuit of their own Liberty, as we will NOT pay any price, bear any burden…for something I am trying to stamp out here at home!

easyt65 on June 11, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Supposedly all this government stuff bores the Messiah.

Give him a pen and a phone to do as he pleases, and he performs prodigies.

formwiz on June 11, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Ever hear the “moderate Muslims” speak out after 9-11, the Nigerian kidnapping, bombings that kill hundreds of people, etc.? Neither have I. Perhaps the majority of “moderate Muslims” don’t have a problem with Islamic terrorism.

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

They don’t have a problem with it, because it’s all in their book.

reddevil on June 11, 2014 at 12:51 PM

That was always the Iraq conundrum. Sure, the Hussein clan were gangsters who murdered on a massive scale. But you sure as hell never heard of AQ knocking off banks for $400+ million when they were in charge…

JohnGalt23 on June 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Non-Muslims were safer and Saddam even kept the various Muslim sects from killing one another.

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Our enemy is politicized totalitarian Islamism. Not Islam.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Then WHY, when we try to target politicized totalitarian violent intolerant Islamic Extremism, do Liberals attempt to immediately end it and accuse people of trying to attack all of Islam? For example, Major Hassan called HIMSELF a ‘soldier of Allah’, threatened to cut off the head of a fellow officer if he did not convert to Islam, and perpetrated a terrorist attack against his un-armed, defenseless fellow troops….and before he could be accurately labeled as a terrorist Obama stepped in and declared he was NOT a terrorist…that the attack was just a case of ‘workplace violence’.

‘Politically Correctness’ is part of the on-going assault on Americans, to strip them of their right of Free Speech and of the ability to ‘call a spade a spade’. Pointing out that Hassan was most definitely a TERROTIST might offend ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS, but it should NOT offend peace-loving Muslims.

If it does…I have some news for them: In this country we have MANY Constitutional Rights…the ‘right’ NOT to be offended is NOT one of them!

easyt65 on June 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Our enemy is politicized totalitarian Islamism. Not Islam.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

The cult of Islam IS the problem. Any religion that dictates that anyone refusing to “believe” and practice, or anyone who converts to another religion, is to be KILLED, is NO religion, it is a cult. And should not be afforded First Amendment protections.

Meople on June 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM

The biggest irony here is that ISIS terrorist group has been made much stronger by the Assad regime and his Iranian allies as he used ISIS to fight the rebels… And the moron Maliki freed thousands of them from Iraqi jails late last year to go and fight the rebels in Iraq.

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Sorry Noah, but the only way the US should intervene in Syria is to BOMB BOTH SIDES into obliteration. Neither side is worthy of our support, nor trust.

dominigan on June 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Our enemy is politicized totalitarian Islamism. Not Islam.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

You would have to burn the Koran before you could claim any difference between the two. Differences in how different groups of Muslims act is entirely dependent on the percentage of population they command.

dominigan on June 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Intervening in Lybia didn’t seem to contain the problem there. Now we have Boko Haram in Nigeria.

But we did intervene in Syria by selling weapons from Lybia to the ‘rebels’ in syria. Rebels who have now apparently taken Mosul and Tikrit. Kinda of like an Arab Spring in Iraq.

Maybe we’re doing this wrong. Try something different, something smarter? What’s left to try?

Joseph OHenry on June 11, 2014 at 2:03 PM

That m@therf()king goat herder has a damn M-4 with ACOG

MoreLiberty on June 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Barbarians at the door. At what point do we close the door? Stay tuned…

vnvet on June 11, 2014 at 2:44 PM

The biggest irony here is that ISIS terrorist group has been made much stronger by the Assad regime and his Iranian allies as he used ISIS to fight the rebels… And the moron Maliki freed thousands of them from Iraqi jails late last year to go and fight the rebels in Iraq.

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Are you sure? If I remember correctly ISIS terrorists are McCain’s buddies. They are sunnis and are opposed to Assad Regime. I was baffled by the headline of this article as this is one of the groups that were armed by the CIA (I thought ISIS was allied with the so called moderate rebels until the moderate rebels were pretty much destroyed by them, including the ‘moderate’ Al Nusra front which is the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda but looks like peace corps compared to ISIS) and an American intervention would have strengthened (not weakened) them.

CoolAir on June 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Is that the same “vast majority” who never speaks up in opposition to what the supposedly “radical” people are doing?

PJ Emeritus on June 11, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Thank you Obama and Ed.

philrat on June 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Iraq violence
2m
Report: Iraq privately signals openness to US airstrikes against al Qaeda militants, US officials tell @WSJ
Read more on online.wsj.com
============================

Middle East News
Iraq Signals Openness to U.S. Airstrikes Against al Qaeda, U.S. Officials Say
By
Adam Entous And
Julian E. Barnes

June 11, 2014 6:50 p.m. ET
***************************

WASHINGTON—Iraq has privately signaled to the Obama administration that it would allow the U.S. to conduct airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft against al Qaeda militant targets on Iraqi territory, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The Obama administration is considering a number of options, including the possibility of providing “kinetic support” for the Iraqi military fighting al Qaeda rebels who seized two major cities north of Baghdad this week, according to a senior U.S. official who added that no decisions have been made.

Officials declined to say whether the U.S. would consider conducting airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft.

Iraq has long asked the U.S. to provide it with drones that could be used in such strikes, but Washington has balked at supplying them, officials said.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/iraq-signals-openness-to-u-s-airstrikes-against-al-qaeda-u-s-officials-say-1402526823

canopfor on June 11, 2014 at 7:07 PM

The Associated Press @AP · 3m

Raw VIDEO: Iraqi army troops flee base in Tikrit http://apne.ws/TLJ4hS
=========

Raw: Iraqi Army Troops Flee Base in Tikrit
Published on Jun 11, 2014
**************************

Al-Qaida-inspired militants seized effective control on Wednesday of Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, expanding their offensive closer to the Iraqi capital as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts following clashes with the insurgents. (J

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xja5yY5I4Kw&feature=youtu.be

canopfor on June 11, 2014 at 9:01 PM

canopfor on June 11, 2014 at 9:03 PM

****RED BOINKING ALERT *********************

Iraq violence
1m
Militants who seized parts of northern and north-central Iraq now plan to march on Baghdad, SITE Intelligence Group says – @AFP
see original on twitter.com

https://twitter.com/AFP

Agence France-Presse @AFP · 9m

#UPDATE: Iraqi officials have privately asked US to weigh potential air strikes targeting militants, a Western official tells AFP

Replied to 0 times

Agence France-Presse @AFP · 26m

#BREAKING Militants who have seized parts of northern and north-central Iraq now plan to march on Baghdad: SITE Intelligence Group says

Replied to 0 times

Agence France-Presse @AFP · 2h

Mosul residents fleeing to Arbil berate Iraq’s Maliki http://u.afp.com/PA7 Photo by Safin Hamed pic.twitter.com/RmOoUn9i0A

canopfor on June 11, 2014 at 9:36 PM

“On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 — he ended it. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there.”

– Joe Biden, debate

Per the NYT:

“All American forces were to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, the departure date set in an agreement signed by President George W. Bush and Mr. Maliki in 2008. Even so, Mr. Obama left the door open to KEEPING TROOPS IN IRAQ to train Iraqi forces if an agreement could be negotiated.

Convening a videoconference on Oct. 6, 2010, Mr. Biden and top American officials reviewed the options. The vice president favored a plan that would keep Mr. Maliki as prime minister, but which involved installing his main rival, Mr. Allawi, leader of the Iraqiya bloc, near the top of the pyramid. To make way for Mr. Allawi, Mr. Biden suggested that Mr. Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, be shifted from the presidency and given another position. “Let’s make him foreign minister,” Mr. Biden said, according to the notes of the meeting.

“Thanks a lot, Joe,” Mrs. Clinton said, noting that Mr. Biden had cast the Foreign Ministry as a consolation prize.

Mr. Biden also predicted that the Americans could work out a deal with a government led by Mr. Maliki. “Maliki wants us to stick around because he does not see a future in Iraq otherwise,” Mr. Biden said. “I’LL BET YOU MY VICE-PRESIDENCY MALIKI WILL EXTEND THE SOFA,” he added, he added, referring to the Status of Forces Agreement the Obama administration hoped to negotiate.

James B. Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, questioned whether Mr. Biden’s plan would make the already inefficient Iraqi government more dysfunctional.

Admiral Mullen sent a classified letter to Mr. Donilon that recommended keeping 16,000 troops.

The attempt by Mr. Obama and his senior aides to fashion an extraordinary power-sharing arrangement between Mr. Maliki and Mr. Allawi never materialized. NEITHER DID AN AGREEMENT THAT WOULD HAVE KEPT A SMALL AMERICAN FORCE IN IRAQ TO TRAIN THE IRAQI MILITARY AND PATROL THE COUNTRY’S SKIES. A plan to use American civilians to train the Iraqi police has been severely cut back. The result is an Iraq that is less stable domestically and less reliable internationally than the United States had envisioned.”

In the end, Biden’s plan was rebuffed by the Iraqis and the SOFA was not extended.

Resist We Much on June 11, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Looking at all the Apple products on display, I wonder if there is any way for Apple to either download all the info from those devices or, absent that, wipe them out.

Or is the NSA busy monitoring all their phone calls?

schmuck281 on June 11, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Eerie how this so much resembles 1975, all that’s missing are helo’s taking off from the U.S. embassy roof while desperate guards try to hold back the frantic crowds.

Bishop on June 11, 2014 at 10:46 PM

And just like the South Vietnamese there seems to be no will to actually fight back.

Bishop on June 11, 2014 at 10:48 PM