by Deacon Blues
The retaking of Ramadi by Iraq's Security Forces (ISF) from ISIS should not be ignored. Just over six months ago, ISIS ran the ISF out of town. Now, after Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi made the difficult decision to keep the Iranian-backed Shiite militias out of the fight in the Sunni areas and instead allowed the ISF to work with local Sunni tribes and police, supported by American air power, engineering support, and Special Forces, the ISF pushed ISIS out of their second-largest stronghold and into the nearby villages and countryside.
Critics are noting that it took the ISF 6 months to do this, and that Mosul still withers under ISIS control, but those same critics just two months ago were lambasting Abadi and the ISF for a failed approach and cowardice. And those same critics, including Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Ted Cruz were also attacking President Obama for not doing enough to support the Iraqis and the Kurds. (I was one of those critics.) Graham of course went so far as to call for 10,000 or more American troops to be reinserted in the region to fight ISIS directly.
Let the record show that Obama's revised approach of supporting the Kurds and ISF more directly, and Abadi's wisdom of investing the Sunnis in their own future paid dividends, again without having to insert American armies into the theater of battle. With ISIS having lost 15% of its territory since the beginning of 2015, the ISF needs to focus on holding and strengthening the cities as a first step, with the larger task of Mosul being next. And more importantly, nearby Sunni states now need to step forward and directly support the ISF in the Sunni areas to continue pressuring ISIS.
I eagerly await hearing the GOP armchair generals congratulate Obama and Abadi for their success so far. Something tells me I'll be waiting a long time.