By John Cookson. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Today's audacious jihadist attack on Mosul by Al Qaeda affiliate ISIS must surely be a massive wake up call in Washington that Iraq needs urgent help.
Hundreds of jihadists seized key government offices, banks and the airport in Iraq's second city. Prison doors were smashed open and up to a 1,000 inmates released.
In a damning indictment of Iraqi security forces, army and police officers abandoned their vehicles and uniforms and fled as ISIS forces went on the rampage.
ISIS already effectively controls Al Anbar governorate including Fallujah where it declared an Islamist state. This week saw deadly bombings of Kurdish targets in Diyala. ISIS is increasingly active in Salah-al din. And now Ninevah's capital is its latest target.
Caretaker Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called for an emergency session of parliament on Thursday and by then Iraqi security forces will surely have regained some control of Mosul, where ISIS fighters may just have overreached themselves.
However the fact ISIS is so motivated, so well equipped and battle-hardened to even attempt to take Mosul is a huge blow not only to Baghdad, but also to the morale of Iraqi security forces and of course the long-suffering Iraqi people.