Sunni militants hung their black banners on watchtowers at Iraq’s largest oil refinery, a witness said Thursday, suggesting an ever-increasing stranglehold on the vital facility by insurgents who have seized vast territories across the country’s north. A top Iraqi security official and a militant fighting for control of the plant said the government still held it.
The fighting at Beiji, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, comes as Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. While U.S. President Barack Obama has not fully ruled out the possibility of launching airstrikes, such action is not imminent in part because intelligence agencies have been unable to identify clear targets on the ground, officials said.
The Iraqi witness, who drove past the sprawling Beiji refinery, said militants also manned checkpoints around it. He said he saw a huge fire in one of its tankers. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals.
Iraq still holds the facility, but it’s just a matter of time.
ISIS/ISIL seems to have a game plan in place: they’ve been very methodically gathering economic power in addition to strategic positions and military hardware. This does not bode well for the Iraqi people or for that matter Iran and Syria.
But there’s also an element of Dispensational Christian-like thinking involved:
The three-year Syrian war has attracted even more foreign fighters than the Afghan war. One possible reason is a prophecy, popular among global jihadists, about the final battle before Judgment Day. “There are hadith, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, that predict an apocalyptic war of good vs. evil, and according to one hadith, it would start in Syria,” says Solahudin, a Jakarta-based terrorism expert.
Yea. That’s going to work out well.
By the way, it’s not just America that is reaping what it sows.