ISIS Takes Control of Ramadi

ISIS launched an attack today on Ramadi in the Anbar province, and seized control of the city, including the police headquarters and army compound. Why Ramadi is important:

Ramadi controls the only significant routes to Baghdad from Syria and Jordan, a vital means of resupply for ISIS. Ramadi sits on the Euphrates River; the dam in Ramadi and the reservoir south of the city regulate usage of the river’s water for a significant portion of southern Iraq. Ramadi is the biggest population center in the Sunni heartland and is the seat of the powerful Dulaymi tribe, a major part of the Iraqi Sunni population ISIS needs support from if it wants to be a nation-state.... Ramadi is important because it means including the Sunnis in the governance of Iraq


The loss of Ramadi is a huge setback for Iraq.

The simple fact is that if Ramadi collapses, the Islamic State will symbolically and physically crown itself the ruler of Anbar. Propaganda being central to its strategic narrative — that which it uses to gain resources and recruits — the seizure of Ramadi would be an extraordinary victory. It would also be an extraordinary defeat for the struggling Iraqi government. Without Ramadi, the Iraqi government’s legitimacy as a counter-balancing force against the Islamic State would be annihilated.

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    You would think (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jack203 on Fri May 15, 2015 at 08:24:26 PM EST
    with total air superiority, the disruption of their command and control, the fear of navigating in the open, that ISIS would be in a serious disadvantage....well you would think.

    I'm sure there are brave individuals in the Iraqi national army, but as a whole, they are a mess.   Ramadi, Mosul are the Sunni heartlands.  The Shiites are fish out of water there, the soldiers in the Iraqi national army have loyalty to their tribes and not the nation.

    I'm not sure if its possible to have less respect for the Iraqi government, but they just really suck.

    I was hoping to negotiate with the Sunnis in a position of strength, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen now.  The Shiites in Iraq and Syria are not going to defeat the Sunnis in their homelands even with the aid of the greatest military in the world.  I'm not sure what happens next, but there is probably going to be a lot more misery over there.

    Implement the Biden plan (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MKS on Sat May 16, 2015 at 09:10:37 AM EST
     A de facto partition of Iraq has occurred.

    If only we had just done it peacefully--as Biden had suggested.


    Everybody was too busy laughing at Biden (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jack203 on Sat May 16, 2015 at 09:59:40 AM EST
    to take his plan seriously.  Because you know....he's such a bozo he says something wrong every once in awhile. And everyone else is soooo much smarter than him.

    I always liked Biden, and I always liked his plan.  I still like his plan.  It seems to be the only viable plan.

    And you are right, we had a chance to do it peacefully, but didn't.  It wouldn't have been easy, but it was possible.  The real stupidity that we as a country follow time after time (not Bidens) gets me angry.


    The situation in the Middle East (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 17, 2015 at 03:15:37 PM EST
    is so troubling because there are so many, seemingly, intractable conflicts going on simultaneously. The big ones are: the century's old hatred between Sunnis and Shiites, oil rich vs. oil poor countries, the battle for ME dominance between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and boundary disputes created by hundreds of years of Colonial interference. To further complicate things, outsiders like the United States, Russia, and, while minimal now, but growing, China, all simply add to this conundrum. And, finally, the introduction of ISIS, the most virulent outlier to date, rounds out this hornet's nest, or Rubik's Cube of a dilemma.

    Oh, almost forgot, the Israeli/Palestinian issue still unsolved. (comparatively, seems almost minor now)

    What we know, don't know, and possible outcomes:

    Taking possible outcomes first: that's easy,   World War 111.

    What we know: that's also easy, The U.S. can't do it alone, and, unless we come up with a strategy that starts us on the road to an eventual satisfactory conclusion that everyone agrees to, we can look forward to decades, even centuries, of chaos & bloodshed that suck the life blood out of everyone involved.

    And, finally, what we don't know, (easiest one of all).....Everything.

    There, I did my part; Any suggestions?


    Total Air Superiority? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Sat May 16, 2015 at 03:03:53 PM EST
    Ramadi will end up like Kobani, another triumph.

    You must (none / 0) (#7)
    by FlJoe on Sat May 16, 2015 at 04:43:20 PM EST
    remember, that the ISIS military top brass  consist of ex-officers of the Saadam regime all of whom have years or even decades of dealing with American air power.

    My understanding is that this latest attack was launched under the cover of a sandstorm, thereby virtually negating airpower, smart. That's the advantage that insurgencies have, they can afford to be patient.

    ISIS commanders have also developed a grisly but effective tactic of using multiple suicide bombers to overwhelm standard defenses used by professional armies everywhere. The religious wing of ISIS seems able to provide a steady stream of expendable "wetware" units for their crude but highly effective "smart" bombs.

    The Iraqi commanders are no match for the extremely experienced and motivated military leaders of ISIS. A cadre created by Bush's folly, a cadre of disenfranchised professional soldiers, exiled to there hometowns, stripped of their future, left to wait and think and observe and plot and finally strike with brutal effectiveness at a time of their choosing.

    The only surprising thing about the rise of ISIS and it's military prowess is that the "powers that be" seemed to be utterly gobsmacked by it.


    You are entitled to your own opinion (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 02:27:48 PM EST
    A cadre created by Bush's folly, a cadre of disenfranchised professional soldiers,

    and there is little doubt that the strategy should have been to send the army to their barracks, continue paying them and incorporate them into the "new" Iraqi army.

    We could have then adopted Patton's strategy of using "useful" Germans to attack the USSR, rolling it out of Eastern Europe and stopping the Cold War, and it's cost in billions of blood and treasure.

    But we didn't. The press hacked Patton to pieces providing a lesson to all future politicians and military commanders. And the Cold War followed.

    And here the analogy splits. Under the following presidents, both Democrat and Republican, we fought the Cold War and eventually won.

    But under Obama we removed our troops and allowed ISIS to form, fester and break out as one of the most deadly diseases in a thousand years.

    See the difference??

    In both cases inflamed passions dictated what we should do and both were wrong.

    But we did recognize our mistake and stopped the Soviets.

    Will we have the smarts and grit to stop ISIS before it kills millions rather than just thousands??


    Bush signed the SOFA (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Yman on Sun May 17, 2015 at 03:14:24 PM EST
    Which required we leave Iraq.

    Unhappy about that?  Take it up with him and his devoted followers.

    Ohhhhhhh ....


    Yman, you keep using the SOFA as (3.50 / 2) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 03:43:03 PM EST
    an excuse for Obama not doing what his military advisers were telling him to do.

    Please try to remember. We were there and could have done what should have been done.

    Thousands are now paying the price for Obama's lack of action.


    Would (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 17, 2015 at 05:00:37 PM EST
    you rather have left American soldiers there and let them be subjected to trials and beheadings? You do realize that Iraq refused immunity to American soldiers for war crimes do you not? So yeah, Obama could have renogiated a contract but Iraq was refusing immunity for Americans.

    No, GA (3.50 / 2) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 10:14:35 PM EST
    You see, we were in control and could have done what we pleased.

    So Iraq couldn't have done anything if Obama had said otherwise.

    But he, as he has said, wanted out.


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:29:30 PM EST
    Even the neocons say that immunity was required.....

    We had committed to allowing Iraq to govern itself--which meant giving over power to the Shia majority.

    If we had tried to back away from our commitment to Iraqi rule, then we lose all our supposed allies and would have showed that permanent conquest was the goal....


    To uphold democracy in Iraq (none / 0) (#34)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:16:49 AM EST
    according to Jim, we would have to violate it first by staying behind without a SOFA.

    Facts and the law are not ... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Yman on Sun May 17, 2015 at 10:08:08 PM EST
    ... an "excuse", Jim.  We were legally obligated to leave Iraq once Bush signed that SOFA.  And the blood of those "thousands paying the price" is on the hands of Bush and his fellow, armchair warriors.

    Legally?? Really?? (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 10:16:51 PM EST
    I see that you are one of those people who spout that we are legally obligated to.....commit suicide.

    I think it was Antony that said:

    I am the law and I have 10 legions to make it legal.


    I thought you guys wanted (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:32:38 PM EST
    to invade Iraq to make it a democracy and show the inherit superiority of our culture....

    Hard to make that happen when you don't let the Iraqis govern themselves.....

    So, if you are proposing permanent rule by us, what was the reason, again, of invading?


    And how long did we stay in Japan and Germany?? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:39:43 AM EST
    These things take time. Obama picked his skirts up and ran.

    Japan and Germany (none / 0) (#46)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 01:23:33 PM EST
    were largely homogenous countries with at least a thousand years of history as separate countries....We were not trying to keep a lid on a civil war.

    Iraq was a fake country created in the 20th Century destined to fly apart at the seams....Just like Yugoslavia....i


    No, we're required to follow the LAW (none / 0) (#33)
    by Yman on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:15:15 AM EST
    ... and the agreements signed by our government.  Otherwise, we are violating international law and the word of our country becomes worthless, despite the rantings of our (Roman) armchair warriors.

    No. We are not required (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:41:20 AM EST
    to do things that are against the best interests of the US.

    Except, of course, in your mind if doing so helps Obama who has certainly shown that he doesn't have the best interests of the country in his plans.


    We (none / 0) (#42)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:50:27 AM EST
    had a democratically elected government, Iraq had a democratically elected government, both of which desired our departing. Why do you hate Democracy so much?

    Yes, we are (none / 0) (#43)
    by Yman on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:40:20 AM EST
    ... and it was an obligation signed by your boy, GWB.  The fact that you want to bury your head in your armchair doesn't change reality.

    And Mark Anthony (none / 0) (#35)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:18:47 AM EST
    himself was defeated after relying on his Roman Law.

    Something to think about.


    And Jim (4.20 / 5) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 17, 2015 at 05:01:54 PM EST
    give it up. Even all the GOP candidates are now admitting that Bush should not have gone into Iraq.

    The biggest (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 17, 2015 at 05:14:09 PM EST
    mistake Bush made was not sending Jim and Patton's ghost to take care of business. Would have been a slam dunk.

    I see that you are unfamiliar with (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 10:20:00 PM EST
    the saying...

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
    - George Santayana

    of (none / 0) (#31)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 18, 2015 at 05:24:28 AM EST
    course he was referring to real history, not fairy tales.

    Support for Patton's war against the Soviets (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 08:24:57 AM EST
    That is certainly an interesting position.

    Trying to keep the peace in Iraq would be like trying to keep Yugoslavia together without a dictatorship to brutally repress people--not possible.


    So your position is that Iraq would have (none / 0) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:45:53 AM EST
    fragmented no matter what.

    Perhaps. But we could have controlled the fragmentation and saved thousands of lives of all faiths.

    As it is we have helped create ISIS and face the reality of hundreds of lone wolves staging attacks inside the US.


    Controlling the fragmentation (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 01:20:17 PM EST
    was Biden's plan.....

    Did (none / 0) (#17)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 17, 2015 at 04:05:30 PM EST
    you learn history by reading comic books?  
    strategy of using "useful" Germans to attack the USSR,
    A full stregnth  German army was unable to defeat the Soviets, what makes you think that the remaining tatters of an army could do anything? You are proposing that we  should have immediately turned on the ally we had just armed to the teeth and ally which had an army on hand that seriously outnumbered us. Do you think we could have sold the idea of more war our war weary allies and the American people. I don't think so.

    Your view of the situation in Iraq is just as silly.


    Sigh (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 10:11:53 PM EST
    Germany would have been part of a coalition to attack a Soviet army that was also wore out and without the ability to produce the war materials that the west could produce.

    And then we did have an atomic bomb or two to emphasize our points.


    Germany had been decimated (none / 0) (#36)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:24:38 AM EST
    To the point where Hitler drafted old men and young boys into so-called self-defense forces that worked about as well as you can imagine.  

    Add to that the fact that the German Army had been fighting for almost 6 years, that you really think there would've been any German able-bodied men willing to go East to fight the Soviets demonstrates how's delusional you are about this proposal.


    Now (none / 0) (#37)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:28:17 AM EST
    your talking, nuke em all, better dead then red after all.

    Actually it only took two to bring down Japan (none / 0) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:49:16 AM EST
    and the Soviets could view what the cost was going to be if they didn't surrender.

    Unlike the radical islamists the Soviets were rational and would not have had the vision of paradise in their after life.


    The guy who puts no (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by jondee on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:32:30 AM EST
    stock in what the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists say is now a champion of rationality. Fascinating.

    The radical Islamists are certainly no less rational - if more violent - than those who demand creationism be taught in science classes and who insist that the earth was created in six (not five, not seven) days..


    Not only that, but (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Sat May 16, 2015 at 06:16:17 PM EST
    they haven't come to grips with what ISIS represents. They continue to spread the nonsense that "ISIS doesn't represent Islam" That they somehow "high jacked" this religion. Utter baloney!

    ISIS is most definitely representative of Islam; it's completely dedicated and devoted to the most fundamental form of Islam; It's Islam at its very core. Their beliefs are similar to those of Hassidic Jews, and the most Fundamental Christian Evangelicals. They believe that their definition of Islam is the one & only form that's true, and is taken directly from the words of the Prophet Muhammad. They believe that by the time of their Apocalypse only a small handful of true Muslims will survive, maybe as few as 5000. This also helps answer the question as to why so many of their victims are fellow Muslims. They may be Muslims, but, according to ISIS, they don't buy into the complete dedication of the most devout form of Islam. As such, they are considered Apostates.

    They are telegraphing anyone that pays attention that Genocide on a scale never before witnessed, will be necessary before this is over. This morbidly scary vision is one reason so few rank & file "normal" Muslims speak out against them.  

    Personally, I don't blame them.


    Wrong (none / 0) (#9)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 17, 2015 at 08:11:39 AM EST
    you say
    ISIS is most definitely representative of Islam;
    then immediately compare them to outliers
    Their beliefs are similar to those of Hassidic Jews, and the most Fundamental Christian Evangelicals.
    effectively disproving your point.

    I'm saying (none / 0) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 17, 2015 at 02:07:29 PM EST
    Hassidic Jews are Jews, Evangelical Christians are Christians, and ISIS followers are Muslims.

    Maybe the term, "representative," should be changed, as I don't believe all Muslims buy into the ISIS definition of Islam. I'm saying that the argument that ISIS beliefs are not Islamic beliefs is wrong. Just as most Jews are not into Hassidic beliefs, and most Christians don't follow Fundamental Evangelical beliefs, nobody is saying that those subsets are not Jews & Christians.


    And the question (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 17, 2015 at 03:40:32 PM EST
    that no one wants to ask is...

    Would the mainstream Jews and Christians allow their radical groups do what ISIS and the the other radical islamist groups have done and are doing?

    Because the obvious answer is, of course, no. Oh there might be some nut cases for the apologists to point to but no Jewish or Christian army would be invading Israel or, for example, France, because it wasn't buying into their radical views.

    Further complications arise when the Shia - Sunni conflict comes into play. Shia's represent about 15% of the Muslim population with Sunnis in a huge majority of around 75% with 10% being various splinter groups.

    Given those numbers and the obvious distaste we have for putting boots on the ground to help the Shia and noting that Iran, the most modern and largest Shia dominated military group, might be an useful ally it is possible that Obama is trying to play FDR to Iran's Stalin without considering the long term costs.


    Actually (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 17, 2015 at 04:56:43 PM EST
    the fundamentalists here in the US have been demanding a bunch of radical stuff from the GOP and the GOP has been obliging of them. If we didn't have a democracy they would probably be killing people off in the name of God.

    See the latest pew survey on religion? It's not good news for anybody Christians included.


    I will (none / 0) (#18)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 17, 2015 at 04:38:20 PM EST
    agree that the religious leaders of ISIS represent particularly  vile subset of Islam , in my view all religions have those.

    Fundamentalism (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 17, 2015 at 04:53:36 PM EST
    is a better description. Fundamentalism is a serious problems in all religions these days.

    In other ISIS news: (none / 0) (#2)
    by Uncle Chip on Sat May 16, 2015 at 08:53:53 AM EST
    there's no allegation she ran a network (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sat May 16, 2015 at 03:51:39 PM EST
    and a new post is up on Abu Sayyaf and his wife here.

    Not following closely (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 17, 2015 at 03:48:43 PM EST
    but I was wondering how "they had a slave" became "she ran a network".

    Assumed it was. Daily Mail thing.