Al-Qaeda Seizes Northern Iraqi Oil Capital of Mosul

Troops Abandon Weapons, Flee

Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s (AQI) offensive continues and they now control the vast majority of one of Iraq’s most important cities, the oil rich northern city of Mosul. The army has mostly fled the city, and AQI seems to be doing mop-up operations at this point.

In addition to the wealth of Mosul, AQI got a lot of weapons out of the deal, as troops dropped their arms and fled in the face of the much larger militant force, so many of Iraq’s US-bought arms are now in AQI’s hands.

Even vehicles came along with the deal, and the first US humvees have been reported in AQI’s Syrian territory, looted out of Mosul, which is now the largest city of al-Qaeda’s growing empire in the region.

Indeed, while the borders aren’t readily defined at this point because of constant fighting, AQI territory is arguably already a state of its own, straddling Iraq and Syria and comprising significant chunks of each.

Iraq had been fighting AQI in Anbar since January, when they seized Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. They’ve made little progress and now AQI seems to just be expanding into the Nineveh Province, where Mosul is, with considerable momentum.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of