A U.S.-backed military offensive against Islamic State fighters faltered in its first week as several hundred militants entrenched in the provincial capital of Ramadi withstood punishing airstrikes and held off a far-larger force of Iraqi ground troops, senior U.S. and coalition commanders said Saturday.
The slow going in what officials portray as a major test of efforts to bring Iraq's fractured security forces into a common front against the Sunni Muslim extremists comes as a truck bomb late Friday killed more than 100 people, including women and children, in a mostly Shiite Muslim market town about 35 miles north of Baghdad.
So that's where the coverage went?
Down the rabbit hole as it became obvious there was no good coverage to offer?
All Iraq News notes US Gen Martin Dempsey arrived in Baghdad Saturday. Jim Garamone's DoD write up on the visit notes:
“The most important thing was to interact with those who are doing the mission,” the chairman told reporters traveling with him. “I didn’t find that to be a challenge. They were actually quite incredible in understanding what we recommend they do.”
The chairman said he asked U.S. and coalition senior leaders point-blank if they needed more troops or if they needed troops embedded in Iraqi units, and they said, ‘Not now.’
“They are not telling me what I want to hear,” Dempsey said. “Most of them have been here before, and so they know what it is going to take to defeat ISIL militarily and also to ensure we don’t contribute to this ideology that is the foundation of this movement called ISIL.”
The chairman said he had good conversations about the transregional situation concerning ISIL, and about how to build the coalition. Iraqi security forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Sunni tribes are taking up arms against the group. Sixty nations now contribute to the fight against the terror organization. Dempsey said ISIL has ambitions to be a state, but that is not going to happen.
“It is about building partners inside that can continually displace ISIL and who are in a much better place to displace the ideology than we are,” he said.
On Facebook, Dempsey noted:
Baghdad - July 2015
By General Martin E. Dempsey · Updated on Saturday
Today, during an all too brief visit to Baghdad, I was honored to spend a few hours with some true American heroes on the front lines of our fight against ISIL. I am inspired by their dedication and commitment and leave knowing our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are well led, well cared for, and mission focused. Hooah to the whole CJTF-OIR team and Embassy Staff.
Not even the visit by Dempsey was enough to spur US coverage of Iraq today or yesterday.
Nor were the continued deaths throughout the country. Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 145 violent deaths across Iraq today.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4497.
The following community sites updated:
And Kat's "Kat's Korner: Rickie's working the groove" and "Kat's Korner: Wilco's Star Wars shreds the sonic l..." went up earlier today.