ISIS weakened by US airstrikes? I think not. ISIS takes over key strategic Iraqi city of Ramadi

Were we not lead to believe that US airstrikes against ISIS were working…or were those the airstrikes against Syria and Assad that were working. It’s all so confusing.

Apparently ISIS is not getting weaker, but then again, the US strategy may not have been to destroy ISIS, but rather to destroy Syria and Assad.

While western leaders continue their obsession with removing Assad, so as to free up Qatari oil into Europe (lots of big money for all involved), ISIS marches on in Iraq.

ISIS fighters have just driven Iraqi government forces from the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, which lies to the west of Baghdad. This latest ISIS victory came only hours after Iraq’s prime minister called for the area’s defences to be reinforced.

ISIS map

Via the Guardian…

Bodies, some burned, littered the streets as local officials reported the militants carried out mass killings of Iraqi security forces and civilians. Online video showed soldiers gripping on to the sides of Humvees, trucks and other equipment speeding out of the city. Muhannad Haimour, a spokesman for the governor of Anbar province, said about 500 people – civilians and Iraqi soldiers – are estimated to have been killed over the past few days.

Haimour said had been taken by Isis fighters over the weekend. They also took the military’s operational command in the city, he said. “The city was completely taken … It was a gradual deterioration,” said Haimour. “The military is fleeing.” Isis later released a statement claiming its troops had full control of the city.

By late Sunday, a large number of Shia militiamen had arrived at a military base near Ramadi, apparently to participate in a possible counter-offensive, said the head of the Anbar provincial council, Sabah Karhout. A spokesman said on Monday that more militiamen were preparing to deploy to Anbar.

“We welcome any group, including Shia militias, to come and help us in liberating the city from the militants. What happened today is a big loss caused by lack of good planning by the military,” a tribal leader, Naeem al-Gauoud, told the Associated Press.

He said many tribal fighters died trying to defend the city, and bodies had been thrown in the Euphrates river. Ramadi’s mayor, Dalaf al-Kubaisi, said dozens of police and other government supporters were shot dead in the streets or their homes, along with their wives, children and other family members.

On Monday, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said he was confident the Isis takeover would be reversed in the coming weeks. “I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead that’s going to change, as overall [Isis] have been driven back … I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed.”

Earlier on Sunday, the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered Shia militia to prepare to enter the fray after reports that the Islamic extremists had driven government forces from a key military base on the outskirts of Ramadi and that some security forces had laid down their weapons, abandoned their vehicles and fled.

By ordering the Shia militia into a Sunni-dominated region, Abadi runs the risk of their presence sparking sectarian hostilities.

Sunday’s retreat recalled the collapse of Iraqi security forces last summer in the face of the Islamic State group’s blitz into Iraq during which it captured a third of the country. It also calls into question the Obama administration’s hopes of relying solely on air strikes to support the Iraqi forces in expelling the extremists.

Police and army officials said four near-simultaneous bombings targeted police officers defending the Malaab district in southern Ramadi on Sunday, killing 10 and wounding 15. Officials said that among the dead was the Malaab police station’s chief, Col Muthana al-Jabri.

A statement by the Iraqi military called on its forces not to abandon Anbar province. “Victory will be in the side of Iraq because Iraq is defending its freedom and dignity,” the military said.

Police said three suicide bombers drove explosive-laden cars into the gate of the Anbar Operation Command, the military headquarters for the province, killing five soldiers and wounding 12. Fierce clashes erupted between security forces and Isis militants following the attacks. Isis militants eventually seized the Malaab area after government forces withdrew.

A police officer, who was in Malaab and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said retreating forces left behind about 30 army vehicles and weapons, including artillery and assault rifles. He also said about two dozen police officers went missing during the fighting.

Iraqi warplanes also launched air strikes on Isis positions inside Ramadi on Sunday, the Iraqi defence ministry said.

Last week, Islamic extremists swept through the city, seizing the main government headquarters and other key sites. It marked a major setback for the Iraqi government’s efforts to drive out the militants from areas they seized last year.

About 24,000 people had been forced from their homes in three days of violence in the Ramadi area, said the International Organisation for Migration.


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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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