The following is an opinion of a BRF-ite; and if valid, is alarming. (I see concern, but no alarm in the NYT online.)
Falluja and Ramadi (Iraq) which were in US control are now firmly in control of Al-Qaeda. It was here in Sunni Anbar Province where most US soldiers died. The Iraqi-Army lost many soldiers in a major push to evict Al-Qaeda last week. The main roads between Syria and Baghdad run through Sunni Anbar. The civil war in neighboring Syria has attracted foreign fighters and strengthened al-Qaeda in the region.
This victory enabled AQ to forge a territorial chain of control stretching from Ramadi in central in Iraq, 110 km west of Baghdad, all the way to the northern Syrian town of Al-Raqqah, 160 km from Aleppo. It also brought the Iraqi military offensive to a standstill. Soldiers downed arms and fled and units still intact started falling back toward Baghdad, dumping their heavy weapons to hasten their retreat.
The leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has openly declared they will establish an Islamic caliphate and threatened Israel, Jordan. The Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, has acquired strategic depth in Iraq. Its leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Golani) is expected to announce that his movement will join the new Islamist state.
All these events add up to Al Qaeda-Iraq, Al Qaeda-Syria and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades having come together for a mighty push to seize footholds in a vast swathe of Middle East territory, along a line running between three Arab capitals - Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut.
US wants an alliance with Iran to counter the gain of AQ in Iraq and Syria. Obama has been clear on this. The Geneva accord is only stage-1 of the rapprochement between US and Iran.