Iraq asks for US air strikes, as extremists take control of largest oil refinery

The refinery in Baiji, northwest of Baghdad, in 2009. [Reuters]


The refinery in Baiji, northwest of Baghdad, in 2009. [Reuters]

The Iraqi government today asked the US to execute air strikes on Sunni insurgent strongholds.

In related news, the militants are reported to have captured Iraq's biggest oil refinery, and continue to control the city of Tal Afar. From the New York Times:
Iraq’s biggest oil refinery was said to have fallen to Islamic extremists Wednesday morning, after army helicopter gunships failed to repulse an attack, according to refinery workers, eyewitnesses and an Iraqi army officer who fled the scene. Other Iraqi officials, including the commander of the garrison defending the refinery, asserted that fighting was still going on, and that the facility had been shut down. If confirmed, the facility at Baiji, 130 miles north of Baghdad, would be the first operating refinery to fall to the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, who have swept through much of northern Iraq and had surrounded the refinery in Baiji for the past week, battling with a battalion of the Iraqi Army that had been backed up by air support.

Start the discussion at bbs.boingboing.net