When the campaign, codenamed "Break Terrorism", was declared with great fanfare on 22 May, the government's hope was that it would all be over in a matter of days or perhaps a week or two. But despite some significant advances in the surrounding countryside, the government forces have only reached the outskirts of Falluja itself on the southern side, where they had to fight off a vicious IS counter-attack on Tuesday morning.
But the assault on Falluja is on hold (or 'hold') because of concerns over the children of Falluja?
(See yesterday's snapshot if you're new to this issue.)
Concerns over civilians haven't impacted the actions thus far.
Every day has brought reports like the one today.
No, if the assault was put on hold, it would be because nearly 200 Iraqi forces died yesterday attempting to enter Falluja.
You know the Iraqi forces, right?
Brian Ross and James Gordon Meek (ABC NEWS) report:
Over the weekend Iraqi officials confirmed that Iraq's controversial Popular Mobilization Forces [PMFs], Shiite-dominated militia groups, are participating in the fight for Fallujah, just west of Baghdad in central Iraq.
Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Departments of State and Defense have reported continued instances of war crimes over the past year in Sunni areas north of Baghdad such as Tikrit — showing that some groups in the military and militias on Baghdad's payroll have not stopped committing abuses since an ABC News investigation revealed widespread atrocities posted on social media 14 months ago.
Again, the sudden concern is surprising.
But apparently the claim that the assault has been put on hold is as fake as the supposed concern for the children of Falluja.
Doesn't sound like the assault has halted.
Meanwhile, let's hope Barack Obama really did quit smoking.
He's going to need to be a very good runner to escape his past.
While identity-politics in America continue to provide him cover, that's really not true elsewhere in the world.
He will find it harder and harder in the coming years to outrun the blame he holds on Iraq.
Today, Merve Sebnem Oruc (DAILY SABAH) points out:
However, the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki started to marginalize the Sunnis and deliberately pushed them away from political life when the last U.S. troops left Iraq at the end of 2011. Adopting overtly sectarian policies, he prosecuted Sunni Arab politicians, put thousands of Sunnis in jail once again and ordered the killing of hundreds of local forces. When he looked at the Sunnis, all he saw was al-Qaida, the Baathists, the coup plots. It was surprising that Washington didn't stop him until it was too late, even though they knew what was happening and what was coming next. When Maliki was no longer backed by Washington, AQI was already gaining strength in Syria thanks to the bloody violence of the Bashar Assad regime and began referring to itself as the Islamic State, reconstituting itself in Iraq, seizing many cities, including Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.
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