Battling ISIS: Why Fall of Ramadi Will Force Iraq to Recalculate

“Iraq’s prime minister took to Facebook last month and announced a bold goal to the world. His military had just won a big victory in Tikrit and ISIS appeared to be in retreat. “Our next stand and battle will be from Anbar to liberate it entirely,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wrote where the United States fought some of the bloodiest battles of its eight-year war. Just six weeks later the Iraqi military has suffered a humiliating loss. The fall of Anbar province’s main city of Ramadi throws into greater doubt its fight against the militants. “It shows just how far the Iraqi forces are from being able to take care of this,” said Patrick Skinner, director of special projects for the Soufan Group. At least 500 people were killed in the fight for Ramadi and thousands more fled the city, including many who were stranded on a bridge after being denied entry to Baghdad. The fall of the city came a little less than a year after ISIS routed the Iraqi security forces at Mosul and captured the attention of the world. Since then, the Iraqis had focused on rebuilding their army trained and equipped by the United States. In the meantime, Abadi, a Shiite, promised to heal divisions with minority Sunnis and Kurds. For a time, there were successes” NBC News. Some American volunteers are helping Kurds fight ISIS in Northern Iraqi.
American Volunteers helping Kurds fight ISIS

The Iraqis defeated ISIS at Tikrit in early April, they regained control over a strategically important oil refinery in the city of Beiji. There was talk of a major Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul. Iraqi military commanders were told to drive ISIS out of the country entirely by year’s end. Control of Ramadi also puts ISIS closer to Baghdad, about 70 miles away. “ISIS militants could stage incursions into Sunni-friendly neighborhoods and launch attacks that would further humiliate the Iraqi security forces and the Abadi government” Al-Assam said.

Muhammad Haimour, a spokesman for the governor of the province, also expressed optimism that the Shiite militiamen, with international help, would be able to regain control. “Just to be clear, no one here believes that Daesh is going to survive in Iraq much longer,” he told NBC News. “We believe that we’re seeing the final chapter of Daesh.” Iraqi military’s rapid retreat from Ramadi seemed to suggest that it will be a long chapter. “We knew this might be coming, we knew it would have serious consequences, yet they still couldn’t prevent it,” Michael O’Hanlon.

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