Iraq Prime Minister al-Maliki declares state of emergency as gains of Iraq War evaporate after complete U.S. withdrawal.
Al-Qaeda aligned terror groups have made major land gains from the Syrian civil war into the heartland of Iraq over the last several days.
Despite the herculean efforts of the United States military with the Multi-National Force in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, Iraq appears to be sliding into violent chaos across much of its territory between Baghdad and the border with Syria.
Fueled by training in the Syrian civil war and allowed by the vacuum of no major U.S. forces in Iraq, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), is poised to take control of the most land mass since al-Qaeda formed in the late 1980s. According to videos posted by ISIS on social media, the militants also captured U.S. Humvees and Blackhawk helicopters from the Iraqi forces.
So far this week, ISIS forces have captured Tikrit — the former home of Saddam Hussein and his political movement — and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. As ISIS forces converged on Mosul on Tuesday, U.S.-trained Iraqi forces collapsed and fled the city. Tikrit is less than 100 miles from Iraq’s capital of Baghdad, while Mosul is just 225 miles to the northwest from Baghdad.
“The city of Mosul is outside the control of the state and at the mercy of the militants,” an interior ministry official told the Agence France Presse news agency, saying soldiers had fled after removing their uniforms.
Several residents told the Associated Press that the militants were now touring the city with loudspeakers, announcing that they had “come to liberate Mosul and would fight only those who attack them.”
Reports from Mosul detail mass beheadings of residents by the ISIS terrorists and a flood of hundreds of thousands of refugees out of the city.
The al-Qaeda aligned ISIS organization now effectively controls a region from the eastern Syrian city of Raqaa, over the through the western Iraqi desert up to northern Iraq and less than 100 miles from Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency nationwide on Tuesday evening. Maliki has been attempting to form a government after split election results from April. The political uncertainty allowed ISIS the opening for their military attacks from Syria into Iraq. According to France24, Iraq’s parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi on Tuesday told journalists in Baghdad that the entire province of Nineveh is under militant control.
The war conditions in Iraq have begun to affect the Middle East region more broadly. Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported that all Iranian airlines flights between Baghdad and Iran were cancelled and the Iranian government was increasing security on its border with Iraq.
The terrorists in Mosul brazenly attacked the Turkish consulate on Tuesday. The Turkish consul-general was among the 49 taken hostage by the militants, according to the Turkish foreign ministry.
American troops were fully withdrawn from Iraq by President Barack Obama in December 2011. Now it is unclear what, if anything, American military and lawmakers can or should do to stem the advance of al-Qaeda in Iraq. White House spokesman Josh Earnest addressed the situation in Iraq with reporters on Tuesday.
The White House gave no indication Tuesday that it would provide significant extra aid — or direct military support —to Iraq’s embattled government.
“We are closely watching the situation, we are concerned about how the security situation in Mosul has deteriorated so precipitously… that’s something we are watching,” Earnest said.
Prime Minister Maliki has publicly stated he needs American support to repel the ISIS militants.