Iraq faces ‘disintegration’ as militants push toward Baghdad; Obama leaves options open
By End the Lie
The crisis in Iraq only continues to get worse as the country faces what some are calling “disintegration” and Islamists militants continue their push toward Baghdad.
Read our latest: “Militants in Iraq seize Tikrit, take Turkish diplomats hostage, carry out mass beheadings” and “Iraqi police, military abandon posts and weapons as militants seize Iraq’s 2nd largest city”
In responding to the situation in the country and helping the embattled government fight with insurgents, President Barack Obama said, “I don’t rule out anything,” according to The Telegraph.
“Iraq is going to need more help, it’s going to need more help from us and it’s going to need more help from the international community,” Obama said.
The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is now calling for U.S. airmen and drone pilots to return to his country, according to the Daily Beast.
The Iraqi government isn’t requesting a surge in ground forces like the one seen in 2007 under President George W. Bush, but they are seeking air strikes and assistance with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
In addition to Tikrit and Mosul, ISIS now claims they have completely surrounded the city of Samarra, which is just 70 miles north of Baghdad, according to The Washington Post.
The entire country seems “to be fast slipping out of government control,” the Post reports.
Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq, is now under the control of the semiautonomous Kurdish government, after Iraqi security forces fled the town instead of fighting.
A senior official with the Kurdish forces told the Associated Press that they did not take over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
Northern Iraq is now “beyond the central government’s authority,” according to the Post.
When al-Maliki attempted to get parliament to grant him greater powers under a state of emergency earlier this week, the lawmakers failed to assemble the quorum required to do so.
The Associated Press reports that there are now signs that ISIS is “backed in its campaign by former military officers and other members of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime.”
One such individual is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the former deputy of Hussein who escaped during the 2003 invasion led by the U.S. and has avoided capture ever since.
Two unnamed senior intelligence officials told AP that an armed group led by al-Douri and other military figures from the Hussein era have joined ISIS in the fight against the government.
In Tikrit, witnesses told AP that posters of Saddam Hussein and al-Douri were raised.
The involvement of individuals from the Saddam Hussein regime has created the potential to “escalate the militants’ campaign to establish an al-Qaida-like enclave into a wider Sunni uprising,” according to AP. The possibility of geographical fragmentation has become increasingly likely.
Experts told The Washington Post that it is “wrong to assume that heavily fortified Baghdad, with its large Shiite population and concentration of elite forces, could easily fend off an ISIS attack.”