**Posted by Phineas
Boy, it’s a good thing President Obama destroyed al Qaeda, isn’t it? Otherwise they’d have conquered the world, by now.
As it is, we can be grateful they only control more territory than they ever have:
From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.
Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.
The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, “without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.”
Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been.
In September a CNN reporting team concluded, “Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north.”
In sum, al Qaeda affiliates now control much of northern and northwestern Syria as well as some parts of eastern Syria, as well as much of Anbar province, which is around a third of Iraqi territory.
Thank goodness Obama and his Smart Power team came into office to fix George W. Bush’s mistakes, no?
Like I said before, this would likely not have happened had the Obama administration not bollixed the SOF negotiations with Maliki’s government. In both political and military matters, our proven ability to act as a trusted mediator between Iraqi factions probably would have prevented the political difficulties that gave al Qaeda this opening in Anbar, and provided the Iraqi Army with the support they need to deal rapidly and effectively with the threat. This was demonstrated time and again during the Surge operations.
But, under President Obama’s wise leadership, we left Iraq. We also dithered on Syria until jihadists became the dominant opposition force.
And now the black banner of jihad flies from Aleppo to Fallujah.
via Jim Geraghty, who writes:
Remember, “Bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive”? Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qaeda now controls more territory than ever.
Heckuva job, Barry.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)