Insurgents Seize Iraqi City of Mosul as Troops Flee

(Washington Post) Liz Sly and Ahmed Ramadan - Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS - sometimes called ISIL, for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), an al-Qaeda offshoot, seized control Tuesday of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, including the provincial government headquarters, after Iraqi soldiers and police fled their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants. The speed with which one of Iraq's biggest cities has fallen under militant control is striking and suggests the U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces are even more vulnerable than had previously been thought. ISIS claimed it had seized large quantities of arms and ammunition from the fleeing security forces. It also raises questions about the continued utility of sending U.S. military support to Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, whose security forces seem simply to have crumbled. Maliki is urging the U.S. to deliver more advanced weaponry, but ISIS fighters have already been seen riding in U.S.-supplied Humvees, and much of the weaponry captured in this latest battle is likely to be American, said Charles Lister of the Doha Brookings Center based in Qatar. ISIS is an expanded and rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that the U.S. military claimed it had tamed ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011. It is now channeling its efforts toward the creation of an Islamic state modeled on the 7th century Islamic caliphate. Mosul is the group's biggest prize to date.

2014-06-11 00:00:00

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