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An Islamic group — called "too extreme" by al Qaeda — is taking over some major areas in Iraq, including Tikrit, a provincial capital, and the oil-exporting city of Mosul, where 48 people are hostages in the Turkish consulate. What's in store for the rest of the Middle East? Also, Defense Secretary Hagel's aggressive testimony on the swap for POW Bowe Bergdahl, and political irony behind the Tea-Party upset of a House Republican leader.

Banner image: A burnt vehicle is seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 10, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

Chuck Hagel in the Hot Seat at House Armed Services Committee 7 MIN, 50 SEC

Before the House Armed Services Committee today, Chuck Hagel defended the decision to swap five Taliban leaders for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. "We made the right decision, and we did it for the right reasons." The Defense Secretary said the Administration complied with the law and fulfilled the commitment to recover all captive military personnel under precedents for prisoner exchanges, which go back to the Revolutionary War. "War is always about human beings, not machines. War is a dirty business. And we don't like to deal with those realities but realities they are." Jeremy Herb, reports on the Defense Department for Politico.

Jeremy Herb, Politico (@jeremyherb)

Another Militant Uprising in the Middle East 34 MIN, 9 SEC

Islamist insurgents today seized Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein and a provincial capital in Iraq, adding it to Fallujah, areas near Kirkuk and the oil-exporting city of Mosul. US trained Iraqi solders have thrown off their uniforms and fled along with a half-million civilian refugees. The so-called "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant," an offshoot of al-Qaeda, could be a game-changer for Syria, Turkey and US interests in the Middle East.

Mohamad Ali Harissi, Agence France-Presse (@aleeharissi)
Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)
Max Boot, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and columnist for the Washington Post (@MaxBoot)
Robert Musil, Rachel Carson Council

AFP map of Iraqi cities controlled by ISIL
Daragahi on the Iraq offensive, hostages
Boot's 'Invisible Armies: The Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present'

Eric Cantor's Shakespearean Fall 9 MIN, 20 SEC

The Washington Post says Tea-Partier David Brat was "more interested in campaigning to make a point than in winning." But win he did in yesterday's Virginia Republican primary against the most influential conservative in Congress, Eric Cantor. Ironically, the House Majority Leader spent $5 million in yesterday's Republican primary and his polls showed him 35 points ahead of College Professor Brat — who spent $200,000. Norm Ornstein is resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute / Atlantic (@NormOrnstein)

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