15/06/2014 (Ahram Online – Egypt): Within hours the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) succeeded in taking control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, as well as the Iraqi city of Tikrit. Both fell to militants last week. Iraqi security forces withdrew completely, leaving room for militants to control cities of strategic importance in being near central oil wells. Today, the scene in Iraq is reminiscent of the withdrawal of Iraqi security forces from Baghdad during the US invasion in 2003. During the past decade, the question has often been posed: Will Iraq be able to build a strong national army that protects the state amid violent variables in the region? Further: Is Iraq the centre of a regional strategic shift, or do political and sectarian loyalties play a role in this context?..