A day after taking over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, ISIS militants gained nearly complete control of the northern city of Tikrit, witnesses in the city and police officials in neighboring Samarra told CNN.
Heavy fighting erupted inside Tikrit — the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein — as the military tried to regain control, the sources and a police official in Baghdad said.
According to the witnesses in Tikrit and the Samarra police officials, two police stations in Tikrit were on fire and a military base was taken over by militants.
The governor of Salaheddin province, of which Tikrit is the capital, was missing, according to the sources.
ISIS is an Islamic group so vicious, Al-Qaeda cut ties to them. They have taken over the Western part of Iraq as well as parts of Syria. US-trained Iraqi forces have apparently been feeling before them.
It’s not clear what’s going to happen here. I doubt they have the ability to attack Baghdad itself. But it’s pretty clear that the Iraqi government doesn’t have the ability to deal with them. My best guess is that we are in for a long and brutal civil war.
Does this mean we shouldn’t have left? I’m not sure what having American troops in the way would do, other than get a lot of our people killed. This is what I feared when we went into Iraq — that toppling Saddam would rid the world of an evil dictator but leave Iraq with an ongoing religious and ethnic struggle. And I don’t see that going back in would stop it.
Iraq is asking for help in the way of airstrikes. That might help and it is of low risk. But we can’t keep bailing out the Iraqi government forever. Eventually, like Afghanistan, Iraq is going to have to decided whether they want to live under a bunch of head-chopping wackos or not.