ISIS’s victory in Ramadi reveals that containment is the best the U.S. can do for now.
The fog of war lies thick over the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. Deliberate enemy deception, willful self-deception, and the complexity of large-scale combat ensure that the truth about war is almost always obscured by a kind of fog. Occasionally a major event parts the clouds and reveals a few fragments of truth, only to have the fog close in again. The collapse of Iraqi defenses in Ramadi is one such event. But we must look quickly to learn anything at all. Continue reading
The map issued by the Pentagon to prove that Isis had lost territory shows how false optimism dominates the actions of the outside powers towards the Middle East
A graphic illustration of Western wishful thinking about the decline of Islamic State (IS) is a well-publicised map issued by the Pentagon to prove that the self-declared caliphate has lost 25 per cent of its territory since its big advances last year.
Unfortunately for the Pentagon, sharp-eyed American journalists soon noticed something strange about its map identifying areas of IS strength. While it shows towns and villages where IS fighters have lost control around Baghdad, it simply omits western Syria where they have been advancing in and around Damascus. Continue reading
For a previous August 7th live interview with Canon Andrew White on the ground in Iraq while facing ISIS, please click here.
The Islamic State group has made gains in Iraq, approaching the country’s largest city Monday. Meanwhile, ISIS continued to attack Kurdish town Kobani in northern Syria. While the Turks have sent tanks to the border, so far they haven’t lifted a finger to help the Kurds, who face being massacred if ISIS keeps advancing.
The Vicar of Baghdad sent an SOS from the besieged Iraqi capital Monday and warned that the murderous Islamic State militants were breathing down their necks.
“People are very fearful the nation looks as if it has collapsed,” Canon Andrew White, who runs the last Anglican church in Iraq, wrote on his Facebook page. “The usual hectic and crazy streets were this morning almost empty.”
White, who also heads British-based charity Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, made the social media post before Iraqi forces — backed by airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition — appeared to stymie the ISIS advance.
But according to White, the Islamic fanatics were less than two miles from the city’s borders and he warned that the Iraqi Army was no match for them.
“This morning I was with one of my soldiers who is assigned by the government to protect me,” White wrote. “I asked him what he would do if he saw ISIS coming. He told me he would take off his uniform and run.” Continue reading
Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.
However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.
Handfuls of refugees have managed to escape on the helicopters but many are being left behind because the craft are unable to land on the rocky mountainside. There, they face thirst and starvation, as well as the crippling heat of midsummer.
Hundreds, if not more, have already died, including scores of children. A Yazidi Iraqi MP, Vian Dakhil, told reporters in Baghdad:
“We have one or two days left to help these people. After that they will start dying en masse.” Continue reading
Six months ago, Sunni Arab militants faced a daunting firepower imbalance in their uprising against the U.S.-equipped Iraqi army west of Baghdad.
But once their campaign for the city of Fallouja was launched in January, their lethal capabilities were bolstered from the stockpiles of the Iraqi armed forces.
Many soldiers fled, throwing down their weapons, which were picked up by the insurgents. Police stations and security posts overrun by Sunni militants yielded more martial booty to be turned against the forces of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s Shiite Muslim-led government.
“Praise God, we soon had enough weapons to fight for one or two years,” said Ahmad Dabaash, spokesman for the Islamic Army, a Sunni rebel faction, who spoke in a hotel lobby here in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region. “And now? Don’t even ask!” Continue reading