Eleven years, thousands of lives, and $1.7 trillion later, Iraq is… still a hot mess.
Iraq is quickly spiraling out of government control and into the hands of insurgents who are snatching up cities, robbing banks, and attacking oil refineries left, right, and center.
But who are these insurgents making a mockery of US nation-building? None other than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot whose goal is to create a hardline Islamic state crossing over the borders of Syria and Iraq.
The group has already taken control of Iraq’s second city Mosul, and is advancing on the capital, Baghdad. Iraq’s speaker of parliament Osama Nujaifi said the insurgents controlled all key institutions in Mosul, including the airport and prisons.
“Everything is fallen. It’s a crisis,” he admitted. “Having these terrorist groups control a city in the heart of Iraq threatens not only Iraq but the entire region.”
But capturing Mosul wasn’t enough for ISIS, who joins Boko Haram on the short list of groups that even al-Qaeda condemns. Continuing their sweep through Iraq, the Islamic ISIS militants launched an attack on Iraq’s biggest oil refinery north of Baghdad. The Beiji refinery produces roughly a quarter of Iraq’s oil output – and a threat to oil is a big threat indeed. Time to call in the big guns!
Iraq has formally called on the United States to launch air strikes against the militants.
“We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power,” confirmed top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president would “continue to consult with his national security team in the days to come.”
While President Barack Obama is mulling over what to do about the latest crisis in Iraq, Senate leader Harry Reid has already made it clear that he does not “support in any way” getting American troops involved in the Iraqi “civil war”.
Sigh… it’s times like these when America may begin to doubt trading tyranny for absolute chaos. Where’s Saddam Hussein when you need him? Oh yeah… the execution.