There was a major game-changing event the past 24 hours, and no it wasn’t the defeat of Eric Cantor in his primary. The city of Mosul, the second largest in Iraq, fell to ISIS insurgents which routed the Iraqi army to take over the city.
ISIS is the Islamic al-Qaeda in the Levant Sunni group which already controls large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq. The actively fight in the Syrian civil war and have been waging war against the Iraqi government. They wish to create their own country and it looks as though the capital will be Mosul.
The takeover of the city has put at least 500,000 refugees on the roadways trying to escape ISIS. May are fleeing to Kurdish territories. The fall of Mosul represents a major uncorking of a potent bottle of poison and here is why. It represents the fall of a centralized Iraq. The Iraqi army literally fell apart – soldiers shed their uniforms as they fled – in front of ISIS which has grown in strength to almost 15,000 fighters. This isn’t a ragtag bunch of guys with AK-47’s. They’re a small army that is well-organized and knows how to fight. And my guess is they captured a whole lot of arms and ammo, including tanks, with the takeover of Mosul. They also now control a good portion of Iraq’s oil.
ISIS will be making a push on Baghdad itself. In addition they threaten Jordan and the Kurds. The Kurds have begun to mobilize for a fight. Baghdad is Shiite – and this is part of the problem. The government there has really made life rough on the Sunni’s so it has helped paved the way for ISIS. In addition, corruption has made the army more of a paper tiger than anything else. There is one more factor: Iran.
Iran is no fan of ISIS either and in fact is fighting them in Syria. Iran is aligned with the Shiites in Baghdad and so they aren’t going to sit by and watch the city fall. There is a strong possibility that Iran literally sends in the Calvary to save the Shiites. That will mean a wider war.
I saw this mentioned on only one news channel in the States and that was the PBS Newshour. However, anyone who watches the region immediately recognized the fall of the city for what it was. If you thought things in the Middle East couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong. They just did.