Just when one thought US foreign policy couldn't sink any deeper into the hole of its embarrassment, it takes out a shovel and starts digging. Overnight, in what AP describes as a stunning assault that exposed Iraq's eroding central authority, Al Qaida-inspired militants from ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled the second-largest city.
For those who may have forgotten, Iraq was one of those countries "liberated" by the the United States, which unlike Afghanistan where the opium trade is still important, did pull out its troops two and a half years ago.
Ths shocking takeover of Mosul took place months after Al Qaeda-linked fighers took over another Iraqi town, Fallujah, earlier in the year and which they have successfully defended against government attempts to reclaim it.
That however, was just the appetizer: Mosul is a much bigger, more strategic prize. The city and surrounding Ninevah province, which is on the doorstep of Iraq's relatively prosperous Kurdish region, are a major export route for Iraqi oil and a gateway to Syria.
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