The situation in Iraq is passing from being a cause for American reflection on its own actions there in the 2003-2011 period to a reason for serious thought about the future in that part of the Middle East.
What is occurring is that a force calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is assuming control through successful military action of the Sunni Muslim heartland, including the cities of Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi, Samarra and Tikrit and most of Anbar and Nineveh provinces. The primarily Shiite Iraqi government forces of Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki, trained and equipped by the United States, have not yet mounted a successful defense to contain or roll back the ISIS forces.
As of Thursday Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, was some 70 miles away from advancing ISIS forces. They have adequate mobility and arms, thanks to assets U.S. forces left behind for use by Iraqi national forces.
The al-Maliki government has asked for new U.S. military support, drones for reconnaissance and intelligence and air strikes to try to hold back the ISIS forces.
The ISIS is made up of Sunni Islamist extremists from both Iraq and Syria, supporters of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, including members of that government's armed forces, and other Sunni militias, including some who were on America's payroll when the United States attempted to bring Iraq's Sunnis under control during the occupation.
The critical point at this juncture is that the United States not jeopardize the future by trying to plug the holes in the al-Maliki regime's sinking ship. With all the advantages America gave it and him, his regime has failed miserably to govern a multicultural Iraq in such a way to prevent it from dissolving.
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