US to shift some personnel out of Baghdad’s “Green Zone” embassy

posted at 8:01 am on June 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

In another blow to Iraq, the city of Tal Afar fell overnight to ISIS forces. The northern city had a mix of Sunni Muslim Arabs and Turkmen, as well as a history of Kurdish integration before Saddam Hussein’s ethnic cleansing pushed them farther north. The seizure of Tal Afar has more refugees running for their lives, with little hope of finding protection from the al-Qaeda offshoot:

Fighters affiliated with an extremist Al Qaeda-inspired faction seized control Monday of another town in the northwest of Iraq, beating back pro-government forces scrambling to stop the group’s advance.

Tal Afar, an ethnically diverse town of Sunni Muslims and Turkmen, was overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, after heavy clashes with Iraqi army units and Turkmen tribal fighters, according to Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency. Pro-government activists in Tal Afar, however, asserted on social media that the fight was continuing, with heavy airstrikes against the militants’ positions.

The latest ISIS onslaught sent hundreds of families fleeing, Anatolia reported. The radical Sunni Muslim group is known for its barbaric treatment of foes, especially Shiite Muslims.The fall of Tal Afar, about 260 miles northwest of the capital, Baghad, came a day after the group posted online images depicting the gruesome executions of dozens of captive Iraqi troops.

The Iraqis are more concerned about Baghdad at the moment than the northern reaches of the country. ISIS has shifted toward Samarra on its way to the capital, and their army shows little sign of slowing down. In response to the advance, the US government has begun moving some personnel out of the “Green Zone” in Baghdad — the first reduction in embassy staff since the 2003 invasion re-established an American presence in the city:

This is the first time since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that the embassy has decreased its staffing levels in response to a threat posed by violence, and the move was an indication of the level of concern that the unrest could reach even into the fortresslike Green Zone, where members of the Iraqi government also reside.

Citing the “ongoing instability and violence in certain areas,” a State Department statement said the embassy will also increase the number of security personnel deployed at the heavily guarded mission. A separate Pentagon statement said “a small number” of Defense Department personnel were being sent to augment security at the facility. …

Some diplomats will be relocated to the U.S. Consulate in Basra to the south; others to the consulate in Irbil, in the northern Kurdistan region; and others to Amman, Jordan, the statement said, adding that the embassy in Baghdad will remain open.

The footprint of ISIS control makes it one of the larger states in the region, assuming they can hold their ground, even without control of Baghdad. If the capital falls to ISIS, we can expect a wider war with Iran entering on behalf of the Maliki government, and perhaps resources from other Sunni states flowing to ISIS either overtly or covertly as a means to degrade Iranian capabilities. It will be an utter disaster for US policy in the region, not to mention the peoples on whose ground the war is being waged already.

CBS wonders if that ground will include the US. Would an ISIS state produce another 9/11?

Experts say the group’s increasing power and reach is concerning, though it’s not entirely clear when they might be able to threaten the U.S.

“You’ve got motivation mixed with opportunity, ideology and foreign fighters and all of that looks like a very extreme version of Afghanistan in the ’90s, plus what was happening in Iraq after the Iraq war,” said CBS News National Security Analyst Juan Zarate. “This is a cauldron of future terrorist threats to the west.”

The bigger danger, Zarate said, is that the U.S. does not yet know exactly what the group will look like once it evolves. While ISIS might not launch an attack on U.S. soil tomorrow, he said, “I think the grave threat here is that you have the seeds of a new terrorist movement emerging very aggressively.” …

“The seeds of 9/11s are being planted all over Iraq and Syria,” [Sen. Lindsey] Graham said. “They want an Islamic caliphate that runs through Syria and Iraq…and they plan to drive us out of the Mideast by attacking us here at home.”

Graham’s concerns were echoed on ABC’s “This Week” by Ret. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who said that “all Americans should be concerned” by ISIS’ quick rise and success in Iraq. And on “Fox News Sunday,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said, “I guarantee you: this is a problem that we will have to face and we’re either going to face it in New York City or we’re going to face it here.”

“These are not monkey bar terrorists out in the desert somewhere planning some very low-level attack. These are sophisticated, command and controlled, seasoned combat veterans who understand the value of terrorism operations external to the region, meaning Europe and the United States. That is about as dangerous a recipe as you can put together,” he said.

I think the answer to that question is not if but when.


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As I have said in previous threads, waiting for Obama to evacuate you from an area being overrun by rampaging muslims is as suicidal as waiting for “Schoolbus” Nagin to evacuate you from Katrina.

I’d be getting the hell out of Dodge stat. Indeed, they have already reached the airport it may already be too late.

Obama’s Saigon moment comes within hours or days. Certainly by next week.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:05 AM

But bush started this!!!!! You can’t blame Obama for this!
-lsm talking points ad nauseum

See KJ take….it’s a good one

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Let’s look on the bright side. It was a great weekend in California for golf and fundraising.

Drained Brain on June 16, 2014 at 8:10 AM

Will ISIS plot another 9/11?

Can’t happen..

We have Obama and he said we are safer then evah!!!!

Electrongod on June 16, 2014 at 8:12 AM

ISIS terrorists are not capable by themselves to achieve all this takeover of almost one third of Iraq… Most of the fighters invading these town and provinces are from local Sunni tribes and many of them were from Saddam army. ISIS terrorists are only a faction of the fighters…

mnjg on June 16, 2014 at 8:13 AM

It took seven and a half years to go from Tet (which seems to have been a victory for the US everywhere but the MSM) to the fall of Saigon. The current POTUS has gone from ISIS incursion to the likely fall of Baghdad in mere days. Progress…

apostic on June 16, 2014 at 8:13 AM

This administration knew for months about this situation. …crickets

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Obama’s Saigon moment comes within hours or days. Certainly by next week.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Ambassador Stevens was unavailable for comment.

Seriously, the best we can hope for is another Saigon. More likely, it will be another Tehran, Beruit or Benghazi. I’ll let the gang guess which one the differing elements of Team SCOAMT are rooting for.

Steve Eggleston on June 16, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Can’t happen..

We have Obama and he said we are safer then evah!!!!

Electrongod on June 16, 2014 at 8:12 AM

I wonder if it will ever occur to the Left that the places they live are the places the muslims will use nukes on when they get them?

Get OUT OF THE CITIES…

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Seriously, the best we can hope for is another Saigon. More likely, it will be another Tehran, Beruit or Benghazi. I’ll let the gang guess which one the differing elements of Team SCOAMT are rooting for.

Steve Eggleston on June 16, 2014 at 8:15 AM

This is Obama’s 1979 moment. Well, one of them anyway.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:16 AM

I ended the war in 2011!
What gives?

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 8:19 AM

I ended the war in 2011!
What gives?

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Clearly these terrorists are RAAAAACIST!!!

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Indeed Constantine

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 8:29 AM

At this point, the best we can hope for is a wide spread Sunni vs. Shia civil war. If they are occupied with killing each other they have little time for other things….

albill on June 16, 2014 at 8:29 AM

The State Dept has been tasked to choose the size of the white surrender flag.

docflash on June 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Perhaps the POTUS can salvage the situation with the threat of a “limited kinetic action.” It worked so well in Libya…

apostic on June 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

At this point, the best we can hope for is a wide spread Sunni vs. Shia civil war. If they are occupied with killing each other they have little time for other things….

albill on June 16, 2014 at 8:29 AM

I certainly prefer muslims to be slaughtering other muslims to them attacking America or Israel.

But we know how this is going to end: Iran is going to invade and annex Iraq, which will put them in perfect position to prop up and expand their puppet in Syria. And they will do this with Putin’s tacit approval if not outright support.

Whenever we have a weak democrat in the White House, America’s enemies march unchecked.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Perhaps the POTUS can salvage the situation with the threat of a “limited kinetic action.” It worked so well in Libya…

apostic on June 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

I think the only way Obama does anything is if Congress forbids him to. In which case he’ll invade just to demonstrate his power.

We have a president with the maturity of a 6 year old spoiled brat that has never been spanked.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Iraq & Syria are finished as countries. We are simply watching new borders being drawn.

rbj on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

I can’t decide whether the White House gang are using Islam to promote marxism or marxism to promote Islam.

crankyoldlady on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Obama is lost in a thick fog without a compass or a map and to expect anything from him is naive at best . . . Tee time!

rplat on June 16, 2014 at 8:39 AM

I just read a Letter to the Editor in the Lexington Herald Newspaper on Sunday that said Obama won the war in Iraq and to quick picking on him, so this can’t be true.

Johnnyreb on June 16, 2014 at 8:39 AM

We have Obama and he said we are safer then evah!!!!

Electrongod on June 16, 2014 at 8:12 AM

With the half billion in cold cash AlQaeda took at Mosul, what they do next will make 9/11 look like nothing. They will have nuclear weapons very fast, if they don’t already and when you consider how well King Putt is controlling our borders, it’s just a matter of time.

But that is what that treasonous low life wants. What was he doing this weekend?

Golf and having a good time.

dogsoldier on June 16, 2014 at 8:43 AM

No surer path to barbarism is ever created than by thinking being civilized is the normal state of mankind: it isn’t.

ajacksonian

Fallon on June 16, 2014 at 8:43 AM

I can’t decide whether the White House gang are using Islam to promote marxism or marxism to promote Islam.

crankyoldlady on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

They are using everything they can to destroy the United States.

It’s pretty obvious. It’s also obvious that congress is full of complacent, stupid, spineless, ballless, corrupt, cowards.

dogsoldier on June 16, 2014 at 8:46 AM

These are sophisticated, command and controlled, seasoned combat veterans who understand the value of terrorism operations external to the region, meaning Europe and the United States.

……….. who chop people’s heads off.

So sophisticated.

The Middle East, bloodshed capital of the world. Brought two you by primitive savages for the last five thousand years.

fogw on June 16, 2014 at 8:46 AM

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/politics/2014/06/16/president-barack-obama-michelle-obama-rancho-mirage-visit-iraq/10568175/

Although much of his trip was recreational, escalating violence in Iraq demanded the president’s attention on Sunday morning. Obama was briefed by White House officials before he teed off at Porcupine Creek, a private estate owned by billionaire Larry Ellison.

Priorities.

dogsoldier on June 16, 2014 at 8:52 AM

And now that they’ve taken over much of Iraq, robbing the banks and such along the way, they are also exceptionally well-funded now.

Heckuva job, lefties. Heckuva job.

Midas on June 16, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Sunni’s and Shiites have been killing each other for years.
They don’t want democracy. This is a neo-con problem. Ron Paul warned us.
The issue here is Islam but the PC media will do everything to avoid talking about the root cause of the problem.

weedisgood on June 16, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Iraq & Syria are finished as countries. We are simply watching new borders being drawn.

rbj on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

‘Simply’? We will dearly wish that was all that was ‘simply’ happening right now.

Midas on June 16, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Sunni’s and Shiites have been killing each other for years.
They don’t want democracy. This is a neo-con problem. Ron Paul warned us.

*facepalm* God save us from this kind of f*ckwitted, simpleton nonsense. Started with a hint of intelligence, then dissolved into mouth-foaming moonbattery at near record speed.

The issue here is Islam but the PC media will do everything to avoid talking about the root cause of the problem.

weedisgood on June 16, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Well, that much is true. Your brain isn’t 100% destroyed yet, congrats.

Midas on June 16, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Maybe Oslima can send ISIS his DVD set of his speeches.They just don’t realize how awesome he is!

jeffinsjvca on June 16, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Iraq & Syria are finished as countries. We are simply watching new borders being drawn.

rbj on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Most of the borders in that region were artificial creations at the end of World War I when the Ottoman Empire was carved up and divided between Britain and France.

They have no historic significance. The only nation in the ME that has any sort of history or identity is Iran. The rest are a bunch of Arabs that have no cultural connection to the pre-islamic civilizations that existed. Not even Egypt has any connection other than geography to ancient Egypt.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The temptation to engage in justifiable and amusing snark is very high but really does not address the issue of given the state of affairs as they are rather than how they could have been, what do we do? Some say aid Maliki ourselves. Some say join with Iran to aid Maliki. Some say condition aid to Maliki on his making accomodation with the Sunnis. Some say leave Iraq to ISIS and Iran. A few say provide aid to the Moderate Syrians who are at war with both ISIS and Assad.

I fall into the last camp. Maliki will not reach out to the Sunnis and Kurds if he feels he can wield the US stick without doing so and he cannot have peace with them unless he does develop a modus vivandi that he seems less than interested in. In fact he seems more likely to use this situation to even further persecute the opposition. Iran sees value in a divided warring Iraq that is too weak to oppose or threaten them and inevitablly will have difficulty producing oil that competes with Iranian oil and holds down the world price Iran gets. They may also wish to have a free passageway to its Syrian and Lebanese clients. Iran is not a solution to any of Iraq’s problems.

OTOH, aiding the moderate Syrians pressures Iran in multiple ways at the same time that it provides a second front threat to ISIS. As a moderate Sryian group fighting in their rear gets stonger, ISIS will have to divert more resources there. The moderates also consume Hezbollah and Iranian energy propping up Assad. The moderates are not the kind of clear threat to the US and Israel that the Iranians are and aiding them does not create a stronger enemy we may have to face down the road. If Maliki sees that he cannot hang on without reaching out to the Sunnis or Kurds or if the Iraqis decide they cannot solve their problems with him in place, they may force beneficial change although, that may seem doubtful now.

KW64 on June 16, 2014 at 9:17 AM

I certainly prefer muslims to be slaughtering other muslims to them attacking America or Israel.

But we know how this is going to end: Iran is going to invade and annex Iraq, which will put them in perfect position to prop up and expand their puppet in Syria. And they will do this with Putin’s tacit approval if not outright support.

Whenever we have a weak democrat in the White House, America’s enemies march unchecked.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Exactly right… The 7th century islamic terrorist regime in Tehran is going to have a total control of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon… Israel must doing something about Iran and tell Obama to get lost if he protests…

mnjg on June 16, 2014 at 9:22 AM

KW64 on June 16, 2014 at 9:17 AM

I totally agree with your analysis but Obama is going to let the islamic terrorist regime in Tehran controls Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon…

mnjg on June 16, 2014 at 9:24 AM

The One just needs to mash the Reset Button…

vnvet on June 16, 2014 at 9:29 AM

with little hope of finding protection from the al-Qaeda offshoot:

I’m glad it is an “offshoot” of Al-Q and has nothing to do with Muslims or Islam. Why are Sunnis and Shiites involved though? Have they both been hijacked too?

BL@KBIRD on June 16, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I’m glad it is an “offshoot” of Al-Q and has nothing to do with Muslims or Islam. Why are Sunnis and Shiites involved though? Have they both been hijacked too?

BL@KBIRD on June 16, 2014 at 9:30 AM

The terrorists are practicing islam as islam has always been practiced in history. The 20th Century was extremely unusual in that it was the century where we had the LEAST problem with muslims in history. Their “awakening” in the 21st is more a return to normalcy.

Sunni and Shia are just labels. Both are the same death cult.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Barack Obama was unavailable for comment. Fundraising and golfing weekend.

Priorities.

GarandFan on June 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Re-deploying over the horizon.

Yeah sure.

BobMbx on June 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The State Dept has been tasked to choose the size of the white surrender flag.

docflash on June 16, 2014 at 8:31 AM

And the “rainbow” faction will insist their flag also be flown with it.

rlwo2008 on June 16, 2014 at 10:23 AM

this isn’t the isis of yesteryear…
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072516/

dmacleo on June 16, 2014 at 10:41 AM

“That boy, I said that boy, is more terrified than a US ambassador serving the Obama regime in a Muslim country!” – Foghorn Leghorn

Hening on June 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

When asked to comment, Obama said, “I haven’t taken a mulligan yet, so I still have that option.”

Wino on June 16, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Kerry asking Iran to help is like asking the devil to save god.

Schadenfreude on June 16, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Has anyone seen the video yet?

Sven on June 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Barry must be confused why would the Greek God Isis attack Iraq?

Sven on June 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Plot? They can buy 100 of them, now.

Dusty on June 16, 2014 at 11:20 AM

To the Americans there, run for your lives. Your government will not help you.

Must. Win. News Cycle.

PattyJ on June 16, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Barry must be confused why would the Greek God Isis attack Iraq?

Sven on June 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Isis, she can attack me anytime. I don’t think she’s Greek though.

Oldnuke on June 16, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Time to recall the great title of William F. Buckley’s essay on the denouement in Vietnam: “The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Hellfire.”

PersonFromPorlock on June 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM

If you’re waiting for the Choom Gang to rescue you, better send somebody to Mr Lee’s laundry to find a guy named Hannibal.

Barry must be confused why would the Greek God Isis attack Iraq?

Sven on June 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Because she’s Egyptian?

formwiz on June 16, 2014 at 11:44 AM

PS Isis, Isis

Ra, Ra, Ra

formwiz on June 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Would an ISIS state produce another 9/11?

Well, who ever does, it is a sure thing it isn’t Islam or Muslims or Saudis.

BL@KBIRD on June 16, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Islam is here to stay. Why did anyone think anything differently? Seriously. They are cruel, barbaric and are determined to live in the 14th century.

Get our service men and women home from these h*** holes. Now.

Deckard BR on June 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Islam is here to stay. Why did anyone think anything differently? Seriously. They are cruel, barbaric and are determined to live in the 14th century.

The good thing is, is that they really seem to enjoy killing each other over the most petty of things.

Wallythedog on June 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM

State Department statement said the embassy will also increase the number of security personnel deployed at the heavily guarded mission.

Hope they’ve been vetted….

abobo on June 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Since the muslims are already riled up, can we please see the Osama bin Laden death photos?

Isn’t it wierd how showing Saddam Hussein, Udai Hussein, Qusai Hussein, Qaddafi, dozens of other slaughtered, unnamed muslims is perfectly fine, but we have yet to see pictures of anything but a healthy Osama bin Laden?

John Deaux on June 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM