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West Point: ISIL gained strength and numbers as U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq

A new study says ISIL gained strength as U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq.
A new study says ISIL gained strength as U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq.
Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images

The Obama administration, fellow Democrats and even some Republicans talk as though Islamic State (ISIL) popped out of thin air in June and seized large swaths of Iraq.

However, a new report published Tuesday by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point says the Islamic extremist organization built its fighting force and an effective recruiting mechanism to sustain it over a period of four years, dating back to the beginning of Pres. Obama’s 2011 withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

"ISIL did not suddenly become effective in early June 2014: it had been steadily strengthening and actively shaping the future operating environment for four years," the report from the West Point center said.

Flash forward to August 2014, and the administration has ordered airstrikes on Islamic State fighters in Iraq and ordered American pilots to fly over Syria in preparation for potential airstrikes on that blood-soaked Middle Eastern powder keg, as a divided Democrat Party splits.

Meanwhile, the administration has ordered nearly 1,000 American troops back to Iraq to protect American assets there. At the same time, airstrikes ordered by the president have destroyed millions of dollars in American military equipment furnished to Iraqi forces. The equipment was destroyed because Iraqi military abandoned their posts in the face of Islamic State attacks.

Mr. Obama, who campaigned on the promise of a speedy withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, now faces the increasing likelihood of conducting simultaneous air wars in Iraq and Syria just as endangered Senate Democrats are facing midterm elections.

Making matters worse according to political analysts, the Obama administration has gone rogue, sidestepping Congress on illegal immigration and ignoring congressional approvals over the new military conflict in Iraq.

Further alienating the White House, and some say Democrats, the administration has failed to put together a viable Western military coalition willing to fight alongside the U.S. in Iraq and Syria.

Without a clear plan including an exit strategy, the administration faces a divided constituency that is increasingly wary of Mr. Obama’s public vow to use Executive Orders in deciding matters of immigration and war.

There is uneasy talk of mutiny within The Democratic Party regarding Mr. Obama’s foreign policy on Iraq and Syria. During Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, the administration even produced a video titled “Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept.”

Furthermore, the West Point report outlined a stream of advance warning signs, including Islamic extremist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "re-booting" of the ISIS organization in 2010. The report said it has developed a "highly-motivated cadre of light infantry forces" since 2012, “while launching major attacks like a wave of car bombs across multiple cities that lasted until the end of 2013.”