Otherwise known as ISIS. If you haven’t noticed before this is a group that has become a major player in the Syrian conflagration, a sort of offshoot of Al Queda, while at odds with them, because, if you can believe this, they are supposedly even more vicious and religiously extreme.
Their organizational name seemed delusional until they sent Iraqi government troops packing from Mosul a couple of days ago, this despite there being about 30,000 troops and only about 1000 Isis revolutionaries. Yes, really, 30-to-1 and the government troops had the big equipment. The ground was littered with Iraqi uniforms, abandoned like the city.
So much for years and billions invested in training. No matter how well you train troops to fight better, it won’t work if they are not inclined to fight at all. At least without being bolstered by American soldiers when facing dye hard foes like ISIS.
In the process the government troops left so much equipment behind (that we bought for them of course), that the revolutionaries are now even more formidable, supported even further by some 400 million bucks apparently liberated from a bank (or banks) in the process.
Now what? Well, of course, for John McCain the first step is to blame President Obama’s team for, first, pulling out all troops from Iraq a few years ago, and recently for not recognizing sooner the dangers posed by ISIS in western Iraq. As for the first point, while the Obama administration might have done a better job in negotiating an ongoing American presence of 10,000 troops or so, the majority sentiment in Iraq was for we “liberators” to leave and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was not eager for us to stay, especially as the Obama team kept pushing him for a more inclusive government, meaning more Sunnis in particular, something he had no intention of doing as later events have shown. The reverse has been more the case.
If you want more on al-Malaki’s role, go to this Washington Post editorial by Fareed Zakaria.
And given the way the Iraqi troops folded in Mosul, it is hard to say what a continued American presence might have shored up. The al-Maliki government seems not one to inspire risking one’s life. If you want to delve into the negotiations involved in the American troop pull out, go to this New York Times article of September 2012.
McCain’s other point about recognizing the growing danger posed by ISIS, well, yes they were making waves in western Iraq, but I doubt if anyone could have imagined the ease in which the government troops were routed given their overwhelming superiority in numbers.
That is what is so stunning about all of this. And added to that mind boggling event is the fact that now the Iranians and us have a common interest in shoring up the al-Maliki government, as they have close ties with Iraq as fellow Shia dominated nations and don’t want the Sunni dominated ISIS to thrive any more than we do.
Talk about strange bedfellows. To say the least, this should get interesting and perhaps more and more unsettling.