So how are things going with Mr. Nobel Peace Prize these days?
At a closed-door gathering of Gulf states in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in May, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Arab counterparts all signaled agreement on one thing for the first time: Islamist forces seizing territory in Syria and Iraq had become a regionwide menace that can’t be ignored.
What they didn’t agree on was what to do about it, U.S. officials said.The fall this week of the Iraqi cities Mosul and Tikrit to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham rebel group shows how the insurgent threat is outpacing the response and posing a challenge to President Barack Obama‘s approach of limiting U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts.
The quickly unfolding drama prompted a White House meeting Wednesday of top policy makers and military leaders who were caught off guard by the swift collapse of Iraqi security forces, officials acknowledged.
State Department and Pentagon officials have long warned about ISIS’s desire to create an Islamic state based in the Sunni-dominated parts of Iraq and Syria.
Now, current and former officials say Washington’s options for helping the Iraqi army fight back are limited—both because the threat in Iraq is so entrenched and because the U.S. hasn’t invested in building up moderate allies on the Syrian side of the border.
Let’s face it: Obama is more interested in the ongoing collapse of our Southern border and making sure as many illegals as possible flood into Texas and Arizona. Face it, where else are they going to get future Democrat voters?
Recent events in Iraq show the potential risks of the administration’s foreign policy approach. In a speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point last month, Mr. Obama outlined a policy that favors a lighter U.S. military footprint and, where possible, calls for regional allies to take the lead in fighting terrorist threats in their backyards, so American troops don’t have to.
But allies have grown to expect the U.S. to take the lead in counterterrorism efforts around the world, officials say, particularly in the Gulf. “Are they willing to step up?” a senior U.S. official said. “It is possible we are victims of our own leadership.”
Wait, did he say leadership? And they’re victims? Oh my God. This is worse than we imagined. But hey, they’ve got a real war coming in November so the focus must remain on the real enemies: the GOP and Tea Party activists.
Some military officials now believe ISIS is the single greatest terrorist threat the U.S. and its allies face—stronger than the al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen or Africa and far more powerful than al Qaeda’s central leadership in Pakistan. Other senior U.S. officials say ISIS has yet to carry out any attacks directly targeting the U.S.
“It makes you want to kill yourself,” a senior U.S. official said of the intelligence on ISIS, which was presented by U.S. and Gulf allies during the May meeting in Jeddah.
Meanwhile, Team Obama unleashed the hashtags of war overnight. The terrorists must be quaking in their boots.
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) June 12, 2014
Yes, that should do the trick:
Seriously Sam.. Can I call you Sam? Do you just have a "condemn" tweet template saved? @AmbassadorPower
— S.M (@redsteeze) June 12, 2014
In the meantime, Obama promised Iraq diddly squat.
As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.
But Iraq’s appeals for a military response have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.
If only the terrorists waived a Gadsden flag. Then they’d really get Obama angry. Let’s just hope his weekend golf outing isn’t interrupted by the impending fall of Baghdad.
The al-Qaida-inspired group that led the charge in capturing two key Sunni-dominated cities in Iraq this week vowed on Thursday to march on to Baghdad, raising fears about the Shiite-led government’s ability to slow the assault following the insurgents’ lightning gains.
Fighters from the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit on Wednesday as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts and yielded ground once controlled by U.S. troops.
Nothing like squandering our efforts:
I'm so glad I fought in Iraq so our efforts could be squandered. The world is full of incompetent leaders.
— J.R. Salzman (@jrsalzman) June 11, 2014
But hey, promise kept or something:
A promise kept: pic.twitter.com/m7iLA3eF
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 31, 2012
How’s that working out, champ?