Posted by Curt on 15 May, 2015 at 10:50 am. 5 comments already!


Noah Rothman:

While the American political press was consumed with re-ligating the Iraq War and in leading GOP presidential candidates to denounce George W. Bush’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein “given what we know now,” the crisis in that Middle Eastern country deepened.

The Islamic State’s advance into Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, accelerated this week and has reportedly culminated in the seizure of the city’s central government compound. On Friday, the black flag of ISIS flew over Ramadi’s city center.

“They set off a co-ordinated series of as many as six car bombs outside the compound that houses the city’s main police station and governor’s office,” the BBC reported. “At least 50 security personnel are reported to have been taken hostage.”

While preliminary reports indicate that ISIS has near “full control over Anbar’s provincial capital,” the fighting on the outskirts still rages. Iraqi officials contend that there is still time to prevent the city and its outskirts from falling completely to ISIS.

Even more dispiriting is that this ISIS advance occurred despite sustained coalition airstrikeson ISIS positions near Ramadi. On a near daily basis, U.S. Central Command revealed strikes on ISIS tactical units near the Anbar capital. Just yesterday, CENTCOM reported “two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL fighting position.”

If Ramadi has fallen to ISIS fighters, it would mean that, along with Mosul, two of Iraq’s three biggest cities are now in the hands of the Sunni militia movement. The fall of Ramadi is asymbolic defeat and a reversal of the gains made in Iraq during the Bush administration. The vaunted “Anbar Awakening,” in which Sunni tribesman turned away from Islamist militias and helped the Iraqi Security Forces and U.S. troops pacify the restive province, has been completely reversed.

But Ramadi’s fall is a strategic setback as well. Ramadi’s fall is a prelude to what many said would be the ultimate siege of Baghdad.

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