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article imageOp-Ed: al-Qaida-backed Sunnis may be on verge of taking over Iraq

By Robert Weller     Jun 10, 2014 in Politics
Mosul - Sunni fighters linked to al-Qaida have seized Iraq’s second-largest city, and the war that George Bush declared won appears to be in danger of being lost now that US troops are gone.
The BBC said tens of thousands of people fled Mosul as it was quickly overrun as commanders appeared to flee and leave their soldiers behind.
Much of the surrounding province of Nineveh was under the control of jihadists. Salon reported the rebels had already seized Falujah.
“Iraqi army soldiers abandoned their weapons and fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, as Sunni militants freed hundreds of prisoners and seized military bases, police stations, banks, the airport and the provincial governor’s headquarters,” the New York Times reported.
A state of emergency was declared by the Shiite Prime Minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and Kurdish forces from the north were asked to help. The Baghdad government asked neighboring countries to help.
A new intervention by US and Western forces was out of the question as American forces were trying to pull out of Afghanistan with as few lives lost as possible. Five Americans died from friendly fire Monday in southern Afghanistan.
Combined with the fighting in Syria, the Middle East is more than a tinder box but rather more like a powder keg.
The White House made it clear it was up to Baghdad to bring the problem under control.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement the United States was “deeply concerned about the events that have transpired in Mosul.” She said the US would help but it was up to the Iraqi government to provide a “strong, coordinated response to push back this aggression.”
Unknown splinter groups may be more dangerous than al-Qaida, the Washington Post said.
The fall of Baghdad has been predicted by critics of the Bush administration, who have pointed out that the weapons of mass destruction given as the reason for invading Iraq were never found in any quantity.
Partisan politics in the US will make it very difficult to respond to what has happened. Democrat will be able to throw Benghazi back in the face of the GOP.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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