Obama threatens US return to Iraq as Isis marches on Baghdad

On the 12th of June, Isis, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria marched towards Baghdad after taking several of the country's largest cities. In response, President Obama has threatened to return the US to the war.

According to Reuters, Obama said "I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria," but some lower official denied that ground troops are being considered. Antiwar activists need to keep a close eye on this one!

ISIS has captured a string of the largest cities in Iraq in recent days, with the Iraqi Army reportedly in collapse and not putting up an effective fight. Fallujah and Tikrit are both under ISIS control, and it appears that Baghdad is next. The Washington Post decribes the fighting as a "rout" and there is a report on Liveleak that ISIS fighters have siezed an entire division of tanks after storming a military base. Their region of control extends from Fallujah to the south all the way to part of Mosul in the north.

Probably this will end up like Saigon 1975, with helicopters evacuating remaining US officials and their sympathisers as ISIS closes in. On the other hand,the US might choose to recommit to battle in Iraq, though the US would be hard pressed to move enough heavy forces to turn the tide of war fast enough. If the US does return, the fighting could be long and bloody. US forces occupied Iraq from 2003 until Dec 18, 2011 when the last US regular forces were withdrawn. In all those years US forces never defeated any insurgent group. Some may have gone underground to await the US withdrawal after the failure of Bush's 2007 surge. If the US could not beat the insurgents when there were over 100,000 US troops in Iraq, what makes Obama think he can do anything now?

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