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Hullabaloo


Saturday, January 04, 2014

 
Keeping AUMFs handy just in case

by digby

So those birth pangs seem to be turning into something of a major medical emergency. In fact, the fetal heartbeat of democracy is very faint:
A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago.

The capture of Fallujah came amid an explosion of violence across the western desert province of Anbar in which local tribes, Iraqi security forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have been fighting one another for days in a confusingly chaotic three-way war.

Elsewhere in the province, local tribal militias claimed they were gaining ground against the al-Qaeda militants who surged into urban areas from their desert strongholds this week after clashes erupted between local residents and the Iraqi security forces.

In Fallujah, where Marines fought the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war in 2004, the militants appeared to have the upper hand, underscoring the extent to which the Iraqi security forces have struggled to sustain the gains made by U.S. troops before they withdrew in December 2011.

The upheaval also affirmed the soaring capabilities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that was formed a decade ago to confront U.S. troops and expanded into Syria last year while escalating its activities in Iraq. Roughly a third of the 4,486 U.S. troops killed in Iraq died in Anbar trying to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq, nearly 100 of them in the November 2004 battle for control of Fallujah, the site of America’s bloodiest confrontation since the Vietnam War.

Events Friday suggested the fight may have been in vain.

“At the moment, there is no presence of the Iraqi state in Fallujah,” said a local journalist who asked not to be named because he fears for his safety. “The police and the army have abandoned the city, al-Qaeda has taken down all the Iraqi flags and burned them, and it has raised its own flag on all the buildings.”
I don't suppose anyone's entirely shocked that things have deteriorated to this. Before we invaded the country there were no Al Qaeda but now it appears they have found a new home. Irony doesn't begin to describe it.

And guess what? The good old handy Iraq Authorization for the Use of Military Force is still in effect.  Read Emptywheel here as a reminder of how that happened. Basically, we've kept it around just in case we need it. No need for any unpleasantness about whether the US could intervene if it deems it necessary. Much more efficient this way.

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