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Team Obama: ‘Too Politically Sensitive’ to Evacuate US Personnel in Iraq

In this situation, there is no possible explanation for not evacuating at least the non-essential personnel from the U.S. embassy and consulates in Iraq.
ISIS leader crowing over their victory in Mosul, Iraq. Posted on June 12, 2014.

ISIS leader crowing over their victory in Mosul, Iraq. Posted on June 12, 2014.
Photo Credit: MEMRI

Astounding words are being reported out of the Obama administration.  It is possible to frame them in a larger context of geopolitical and philosophical analysis about the current situation.  But it isn’t actually necessary.  What makes them astounding comes as much from their “first-order” meaning as from anything deeper or more deductive.

All we need to know is the basic facts.  The consortium of jihadists fighting under the ISIS banner in northern and western Iraq has taken over the city of Mosul and started a drive to the south toward Baghdad.  As of this writing, the advancing force is reportedly some 50-60 miles north of Baghdad.

Although Iraqi government forces fled precipitately from the ISIS attackers in Mosul, government troops are said to be mustering in Samarra – along the avenue of approach from Mosul to Baghdad on the Tigris River – and in Baghdad itself.

In case it’s not clear, this doesn’t mean the Iraqi army will probably protect Baghdad.  It means there will probably be a big, bloody fight of some kind in Baghdad – and that its outcome will be uncertain.

Baghdad is really too much for ISIS to bite off all at once, if the government troops perform even just a little better than they did in Mosul.  ISIS won’t fling itself uselessly into whatever counts as the Iraqi forces’ position of strength.  What ISIS may well have in mind is positioning forces on the outskirts of Baghdad, ready to pounce, and softening the city up with days of disruptive asymmetric attacks, on civilians, police and security leaders, and infrastructure, such as water and power.  Taking over microwave towers and power stations is a likely tactic.  Vicious, brutal intimidation of the populace will be the mode of advance.  (See here – strong warning; graphic – to view recent images posted by ISIS jihadis of “population intimidation” in the Mosul area.)

It doesn’t take brilliant insight or analysis to see this coming.  It may not, strictly speaking, be inevitable.  But there is literally nothing being prepared or put in place that would reliably prevent it.

Even the introduction of Iranian troops into Iraq, confirmed in the last 24 hours, is not necessarily a measure to decisively protect Baghdad or the Maliki government.  The force level described so far, perhaps between 2,000-3,000, would be inadequate to that task.  The Iranians themselves have emphasized the goal of protecting the Shia holy sites at Karbala and An Najaf, which lie south of Baghdad.

ISIS closing in on Baghdad.

ISIS closing in on Baghdad.

That may or may not be a downpayment on a bigger commitment.  It’s very possible the Iranians are hedging their bets, determined ultimately to preserve their political connection with the Iraqi Shias, even if the Maliki government itself doesn’t survive.  I wouldn’t predict with certainty right now how much the mullahs will risk on Maliki.  Reports suggest their forces have crossed into Iraq in at least two places, including central Iraq; their machinations behind the scenes are assuredly more robust and extensive than what they’re advertising in public.

Iraqi Kurds in the north, meanwhile have already taken over the city of Kirkuk.  The Iraqi central government’s authority in northern Iraq has basically collapsed.

In this situation, there is no possible explanation for not evacuating at least the non-essential personnel from the U.S. embassy and consulates in Iraq.  It is understandable and appropriate for the ambassador and a skeleton staff to remain, at least as conditions have unfolded up until now.  And it would have been conventional for the embassy and consulate staffs to keep enough personnel on the job over the last week to deal with American civilians in Iraq who are suddenly concerned about getting out of the country.

But a normal diplomatic profile in the face of the upheavals in Iraq would look very different from what we seem to be seeing, which is a complete absence of special preparations – in particular, preparations involving the U.S. military – to get our people safely out.

Given this background, two videos posted in the last 24 hours are informative, and alarming.  The first is from Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show on Friday, 13 June.  In it, she talks with retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, a Fox military analyst.

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


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37 Responses to “Team Obama: ‘Too Politically Sensitive’ to Evacuate US Personnel in Iraq”

  1. He’s going to let them sit and die. Too busy on vacation.

  2. Praying for the Safety of those that are still there… :(

  3. stay out of Americans business

  4. he’s not going to do anything there, if he does anything he’ll retreat.

  5. And in kenya after a grenade attack all American and western tourists were evacuated and some consulates closed.he is simply not happy with president kenyatta government for signing contracts with China worth billions of dollars.he is now funding opposition to bring down the government. Obama is a disgrace to everyone. American parliament should empeach him.he is worse than useless and an apostate of the devil for supporting gays.

  6. good grief. i guess we will wait till there dead. go on the campaign trail and then say …oh golly we didn’t know they needed help!

  7. Left behind again……..Obamas islam buddies are on a mission /conquer control….he wants USA to leave them alone.

  8. Jay Grosflam says:

    This article says nothing new. Mentions Fox which is stupid. Are you anti Obama people aware of back channel discussions? I don’t think so. Your bias’s are evident. @Debbie S. you are an idiot. @linda – you are another Fox idiot. @Carol – you have no facts and act like you know anything. This is a poorly written article and you Fox chicken hawks.

  9. That guy in White House is a disaster

  10. Jay Grosflam says:

    @bernard – any facts? Or just bloviating? You want to know what a disaster looks like? Look at the republican house for their do nothing over the last 5 years.

  11. Jay Grosflam says:

    Your hero Bush got us into the needless war. Obama is getting us out. Waisted American lives for oil. China and Russia get the oil. We get the bill. Halliburton makes $$$. You people are sheep.

  12. Jay Grosflam says:

    You are an useful idiot. Nothing to say that factual.

  13. Jeff Benson says:

    Jay, when you have a President almost as bad as Stalin, wouldn’t you want congress to do nothing? Congress is there to prevent the President from getting out of control. Also,Obama armed these iraqi/syrian rebels with tanks.

  14. Jay Grosflam says:

    Jeff – you are insane.

  15. Jay Grosflam says:

    Jeff – you are insane.

  16. Jay Grosflam says:

    Jeff – you are insane.

  17. Bob Huffman says:

    Obama wanted to pull us out of those areas so that exactly what is happening would happen. After all he is one of them!

  18. Jay Grosflam says:

    @Bob – you have any proof of your asinine assumption?

  19. Obama is the Jesus rock in the way…but is danger direspect the only lord

  20. If it’s not to late. If this thing goes wrong, Benghazi looks like a foreplay.

  21. Kathy Marriott says:

    We need to all stay focused here. Get our people to safe ground, then debate.

  22. This is the result of leaving a country totally unable to deal with terrorists on their own. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into another hostage crises like Iran. Argo doesn’t need a sequel.

  23. Well, Obama does it again!? He’s gettin to be like the old cartoon character Mr Magoo! Can’t really see what he does then hope it’s right! “Oh Magoo you’ve Done It Again!!”

  24. Haley Chace says:

    Hang them for Treason!… Top to Bottom!

  25. “Politically sensitive”??? How about LIFE-ENDANGERING?!!!

  26. AGAIN IT WILL BE NECESSARY AN “ARGO” OPERATION” OR, BETTER STILL, AN ENTEBBE OPERATION (I.E., AN ISRAELI-STYLE RESCUE OPERATION)

  27. Donna Hambright Glatt says:

    What ir means thst all we have been able to know that there is at least three very heavily aemed ships with missle headed right for them..and possible drone strikes..I dont think they will ever get to Bagdad…we can wipe them out easily with these weapons..bye bye

  28. Obama bet his life's work on being the "anti war," I will love you if you love me President. He has failed… Our first black? President has failed. People are dying all over the world because out first black President has failed … Now you know why Israel stands up to a President that would destroy Israel if left to his decisions about your lives in Israel.

  29. The Minimum here is to avoid another Benghazi–Get our People out Now. thank you.

  30. Get our people out of there…no more Benghazis…and let them kill each other, just like they have been doing for a long time…the less of them all…the better for the world and Israel.

  31. Johnny Ward says:

    Coming to a theater near you: "WHITE HOUSE-GROWN TERRORISTS" starring Obaba Black Sheep (pulling the wool over our eyes) and Eric Wholedirt (always being backed up by Obaba). Surprise ending when they disappear ! (Reviewers are invited to Google "Revealed: The Destroyer of Obama's Tyranny.")

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