Al-Qaida has established a new Islamic Caliphate.
The Obama administration’s failure to secure a status-of-forces agreement with the government of Iraq, or to take decisive action in Syria to end that civil war, has provided al-Qaida an opportunity to fulfill its dream of creating an new Islamic Caliphate governed under Sharia law — and it is a direct threat to U.S. national security.
On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, just days shy of the two and a half year anniversary of the departure of the last U.S. combat forces from Iraq, news broke that hundreds of al-Qaida-linked terrorists belonging to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) had taken Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, and possibly all of the surrounding Nineveh Province. Iraq security forces abandoned their posts, leaving advanced military equipment and weaponry to al-Qaida. As they advanced, 500,000 civilians out of an estimated two million that live in Mosul fled, and al-Qaida now controls the city — a gateway to Iraq’s oil rich north.
Less than 24 hours later, reports indicate that al-Qaida has now taken the city of Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein. Al-Qaida militants are said to have driven into the city Wednesday in an organized convoy and taken over the government’s provincial headquarters building. The infamous black flag of al-Qaida now flies atop. The rapid destabilization of Northern Iraq is very alarming and dangerous. A very bloody civil war appears to be inevitable, similar to the one being fought in neighboring Syria.
Al-Qaida affiliated terrorists now control an area in Eastern Syria all the way through parts of Western and now Northern Iraq. They have subjected the locals in the areas they control to Sharia law and have engaged in acts of violent barbarism. They have beheaded locals for failing to adhere to their strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and have set up training camps to train additional terrorists to conduct operations and external attacks. This is exactly what al-Qaida has always wanted, and the Obama administration is allowing them to have it.
Tikrit is now the third major Iraqi city to fall into the hands of al-Qaida terrorists, as the city of Fallujah was taken over in January. The United States Marine Corps fought two major battles for control of the city of Fallujah, and many Americans lost their lives or were injured fighting there. At the moment, all of that effort and sacrifice appears to have been made in vain.
Why? Because the Obama administration failed to sign a status-of-forces agreement with the government of Iraq that would have allowed for a stay-behind counterterrorism force to maintain security gains and kill al-Qaida terrorists while Iraq got on her feet.
Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background is in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.
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