Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIS: Islamist State of Iraq and Syria), captured the northern Iraqi oil city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh Province, Tuesday, June 10, after the Iraqi military defenders caved in and fled. Mosul is Iraq’s third largest city after Baghdad and Basra with a population of around two million.
Ministers in Nuri al-Maliki’s government have sent desperate appeals to the Obama administration for help to save Baghdad and Iraq from doom.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Iraqi army’s command facilities and bases in Mosul are ablaze and many bodies of Iraqi soldiers are lying in the town’s streets. Convoys of fleeing troops were ambushed by the invaders and destroyed.
The fall of Mosul with heavy casualties is the worst disaster suffered by the Iraqi army in its feeble attempts to fend off the deep inroads Al Qaeda has been making in the country for more than a year. ISIS now controls two major Iraqi cities, after capturing Fallujah earlier this year, has overrun parts of Ramadi and Tikrit, as well as eastern provinces bordering on Iran, Diyala province and parts of the town Baquba, where just Tuesday, 20 people were killed in two explosions.
The loss to Islamist terrorists of Mosul, home to Arab, Assyrian, Christian, Turcoman and Kurdish minorities – and the site of Old Testament prophets such as Jonah – is critical for six additional reasons outlined here by DEBKAfile’s counter-terror and military sources: