Hillary Clinton seems to be readying herself to run an election campaign on her “success” as Secretary of State.
Asked to name a foreign policy achievement, she recently claimed:
The most important thing I did was to help restore America’s leadership in the world. And I think that was a very important accomplishment. We were flat on our back when I walked in there the first time.
Reality tells a different story. Yesterday, Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, fell to Islamist militants associated with al Qaeda.
The Wall Street Journal editorialized:
On Tuesday fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an al Qaeda affiliate known as ISIS, seized total control of the northern city of Mosul—with nearly two million people—after four days of fighting. Thousands of civilians have fled for their lives, including the governor of Nineveh province, who spoke of the "massive collapse" of the Iraqi army.
TheDaily Mail reported the grim facts on the ground:
As many as 500,000 Iraqis have been forced to flee the country's second biggest city of Mosul after militants from an al-Qaeda splinter group seized control.
Roads were jammed as residents and troops desperately tried to escape from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which is headed by warlord Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Dua - which translates roughly as 'Father of the Summons'.
While his may not be a household name, Al-Baghdadi, 43, has emerged as one of the world's most lethal terrorist leaders in the space of a year. He is viewed by some as the next Osama Bin Laden - but with an even deeper hatred of America - and the U.S has a $10million bounty on his head.
The rampage through Mosul - which is near the Turkish and Syrian border - by the black banner-waving insurgents was a heavy defeat for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as he tries to hold onto power, and highlighted the growing strength of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The group has been advancing in both Iraq and neighboring Syria, capturing territory in a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.
As many as 500,000 Iraqis have been forced to flee the country's second biggest city of Mosul after militants from an al-Qaeda splinter group seized control
The Economist explained who Mosul’s new rulers were:
ISIS originated as an al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq. Composed of fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, the group targeted the Iraqi government and American forces in Iraq, as well as Shia Muslims and Christians (both of whom it considers heretics) and killed civilians of all faiths in indiscriminate attacks. It expanded into Syria when that country's uprising turned into a war between President Bashar Assad (who is backed by Iran's Shia leadership) and the rebels he had tried to crush. One of the best-equipped and funded militias on the ground—although its sources of cash are murky—ISIS took control of the eastern rebel-held city of Raqqa in 2012 and expanded along the border with Turkey. Foreign fighters flocked to Syria to join it.
Obviously, the administration has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. If this is what American leadership looks like….
The Journal summed up the effect of Obama/Clinton/Kerry leadership:
Since President Obama likes to describe everything he inherited from his predecessor as a "mess," it's worth remembering that when President Bush left office Iraq was largely at peace. Civilian casualties fell from an estimated 31,400 in 2006 to 4,700 in 2009. U.S. military casualties were negligible. Then CIA Director Michael Hayden said, with good reason, that "al Qaeda is on the verge of a strategic defeat in Iraq."
Fast forward through five years of the Administration's indifference, and Iraq is close to exceeding the kind of chaos that engulfed it before the U.S. surge. The city of Fallujah, taken from insurgents by the Marines at a cost of 95 dead and nearly 600 wounded in November 2004, fell again to al Qaeda in January. The Iraqi government has not been able to reclaim the entire city—just 40 miles from Baghdad. More than 1,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in May alone, according to the Iraq Body Count web site.
The Journal concluded:
The Administration's policy of strategic neglect toward Iraq has created a situation where al Qaeda effectively controls territories stretching for hundreds of miles through Anbar Province and into Syria. It will likely become worse for Iraq as the Assad regime consolidates its gains in Syria and gives ISIS an incentive to seek its gains further east.
The administration responded to events by touting its record:
In response, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the U.S. would continue to help the Iraqi government fight ISIS.
"President Obama promised to responsibly end the war in Iraq and he did," she said.
Obviously, responsibly ending the war is a euphemism for surrender. [We will ignore the fact that it’s also a split infinitive.]
During his last election campaign, the president said that al Qaeda is on the run. In truth, it is on the march.
Way to go, Hillary and Barack.