Baghdad Might Fall to Group of Al Qaeda-Inspired Militants, and the U.S. Declined to Help

After storming the cities of Tikrit, Mosul, and Samarra, some are speculating that Baghdad might fall to the Al Qaeda-inspired militants next. The insurgency, affiliated in part with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), threatened a sacred Shiite shrine and abducted 80 Turkish citizens, a majority of whom were diplomats, in Mosul, prompting that country's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, to issue a warning, The New York Times reported.

All parties around the world should know that if something bad happens to our citizens, the perpetrators will be responded to strongly. No one should try to test the limits of Turkey’s strength.

Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said in a public speech Wednesday that the government would regain control, according to The Washington Post.

This is just the latest round of fighting against ISIS, and it won’t be the last. We will continue to fight against them until we retake Mosul. ISIS doesn’t have the numbers to remain in control of the city.

But the Times reported Wednesday that the Iraqi government had privately asked for help from the U.S., specifically in bombing some of the insurgents' "staging areas" and training locations, but the U.S. decided against providing assistance to avoid getting mired in the country again. The State Department wouldn't talk to the Times about that directly, but Brookings Institution fellow and former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack told the paper he'd heard firsthand about the requests when he was visiting the country recently.

Iraqi officials at the highest level said they had requested manned and unmanned U.S. airstrikes this year against ISIS camps in the Jazira desert.

Meanwhile, 500,000 people have fled Mosul, CNN reported. Obviously, none of this is bodes well for a stable Iraq.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad warned American citizens about the dangers of staying in Iraq on Wednesday.

Numerous insurgent groups, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), previously known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country at levels unseen since 2007.