June 11, 2014

OBAMA DIDN’T LOSE IRAQ, HE GAVE IT AWAY: White House worried as militants take Iraqi cities.

The White House on Wednesday expressed concerns that Islamic militants had regained a foothold in Iraq after an al Qaeda-affiliated group seized control of a second major city.

Islamist militants seized the northern city of Tikrit on Wednesday, an action that sparked alarm in Washington and Baghdad, just days after rebel forces also captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

“The situation in Iraq is grave,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded to reporters traveling with the president Wednesday to Massachusetts.

“There is no doubt that the situation has deteriorated over the last 24 hours,” he added.

Earnest said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” the instability could create a humanitarian crisis, with reports saying Iraqi security forces had fled both cities and thousands of refugees were seeking shelter.

Rebel groups have allegedly seized control of government buildings and released prisoners, adding to the chaos.

Earnest called on Iraqi leaders to organize a response to turn back the rebel forces, and said Washington was offering its support to Baghdad.

Obama gave up on the status of forces negotiations because he was in a hurry to skedaddle. Now there’s a good chance that Iraq — which was stable and doing comparatively well in 2008 — will be taken over by Islamists. Then, of course, there are the debacles in Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan. . . .

UPDATE: Iraqi Insurgents Capture Northern Cities, Move Toward Baghdad.

ANOTHER UPDATE: US and UK speak of deep concern as al-Qaeda take swathes of northern Iraq, sparking a mass exodus of civilians.