To World War Two-era Marines, Saipan, Tarawa, and Peleliu aren’t just the names of faraway places on a map but battlefields that ran red with the blood of leathernecks. Today’s Marines feel the same emotion when they hear of Fallujah, Tikrit, and Ramadi. As reported by Bloomberg News, Iraqi cities and towns where American forces once defeated terrorists have since fallen to the same al Qaeda-allied jihadists.
With the al Qaeda-aligned ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorist organization taking huge swaths of territory in the north, west, and central regions of Iraq, their road to victory has been as bloody as it has been a surprise to many American journalists. ISIS troops moved into Iraq last year, with the city of Fallujah falling to the hard line Islamists almost six months ago.
Nonetheless, during a presidential press conference on the South Lawn of the White House, an unidentified member of the Fourth Estate asked Barack Obama whether the Syrian civil war was spilling over the Iraq border. There has also been scant coverage by the American media of ISIS’s seizure of Fallujah, whose eastern outskirts are 25 miles from Baghdad International Airport.
ISIS has placed the heads of government troops and police officers on poles, trophy-style, on the road outside the recently fallen city of Tikrit. Despite vastly outnumbering the ISIS fighters, the Iraqi Army has not only run but has also blamed their officers for abandoning them in the face of the enemy. According to one anonymous soldier:
Commanders slipped away in the night rather than mount a defence of the city.
The New York Times recently noted that the Iraqi Army is “losing as many as 300 soldiers a day, between desertions, deaths and injuries…” The ISIS troops are now 90 miles to the north of Baghdad, and closing fast.