After failing to secure a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq in 2011, Barack Obama withdrew all American troops from that country. Al Qaeda is moving into what has become a power vacuum. If it’s said Al Qaeda was not in Iraq in 2003, it can certain be said they are there now, and they have their eyes set on the throne.
When the last U.S. combat troops departed Iraq in December 2011, they left behind a defeated al-Qaeda and an Iraq where traditional rivals Sunni and Shiite Muslims were sharing power in the world’s only Arab democracy.
Two years later, al-Qaeda has seized major cities where hundreds of U.S. troops died while fighting alongside their Iraqi brethren. The population once freed by the U.S.-Iraqi alliance has now watched those same jihadist insurgents return to command the streets and impose their will.
“I fear it’s only the beginning and much worse will evolve,” Fred Kagan, a military historian and former adviser to President George W. Bush and U.S. military commander David Petraeus, told USA Today at the time. “And I believe it was avoidable.”
Kagan was prescient.
— Loveday Morris (@LovedayM) June 11, 2014
Soldiers in Mosul threw down their guns and stripped off their uniforms as Sunni insurgents approached and raised their black flags on Tuesday, allowing the city to fall after just four days of fighting. Terrified residents were streaming out of the city
Iraqis are fleeing Al Qaeda in Iraq, flowing into the Kurdish areas of the country.