I hate being right all the time:
Al Qaeda-inspired militants in Iraq vowed Thursday to march against Baghdad after seizing two key cities in the north of the country this week.
A spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) said in audio posted on militant websites commonly used by the group that the fighters have old scores to settle with Iraq’s Shiite-led government.
The spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, also threatened that Sunni ISIL fighters would capture the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims.
The Washington Post reported that militants had reached the city of Samarra, approximately 80 miles north of the Iraqi capital, by nightfall Wednesday.
Meanwhile, members of Iraq’s parliament were expected to vote Thursday on a request by embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to declare a state of emergency. If lawmakers approve, the prime minister would be granted wider powers in running the country. Legal experts say those could include powers to impose curfews, restrict public movements and censor the media.
The Iraq prime minister has reportedly appealed for a military response from the Obama administration, but the New York Times reported that the White House has so far rebuffed al-Maliki’s requests. The Times reports that the White House has been reluctant to reengage in Iraq since withdrawing the last U.S. forces from the country in 2011.
Militants took Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit on Wednesday, as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts and yielded ground once controlled by U.S. forces.
Only a day earlier, they seized control of much of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, sending an estimated half a million people fleeing from their homes. As in Tikrit, the Sunni militants were able to move in after police and military forces melted away following relatively brief clashes.
The group, which has seized wide swaths of territory, aims to create an Islamic emirate spanning both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.
The capture of Mosul — along with the fall of Tikrit and the militants’ earlier seizure of the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province — have undone hard-fought gains against insurgents in the years following the 2003 invasion by U.S.-led forces.
Vietnam and Iraq. Two wars we never should have fought, about forty years apart. We won all the battles and still lost both wars. I was too young for the first, but I opposed the second. I predicted that it would not end well, and I am being proven right.
Some will blame Bush for invading Iraq in the first place, and they’ll be right. Others will blame Obama for losing a war we had already won, and they’ll be right too.
American voters strongly supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I know this because I was one of the minority who didn’t. Then in 2008 the American voters elected a guy who promised to end the war, or at least our part in it.
Well, he did. Alea iacta est
It was sad and humiliating to watch the rapid collapse of South Vietnam after the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Sad because so many people had to die for nothing. Humiliating because we were powerless to stop it.
Now history repeats itself as the U.S. prepares to evacuate our embassy in Baghdad. Will there be another Killing Fields? Will the Kurds become the new boat people?
I don’t know. We’ll just have to watch events unfold and hope for the best. However I will predict that the next two years will not be pretty as Russia, Iran, the Taliban, al Qaeda, China and other geopolitical foes of the United States take advantage of the weakness of Barack Obama.