Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The hollow victory of Falluja

Again, we called it a "hollow victory" on Saturday because that's what it is.

Anthony E. Deane (FOREIGN POLICY) explains the reality:

Iraq desperately needs to relearn the lessons from that era to win its war against the Islamic State. Today, Ramadi lies in ruins after a combination of Iraqi forces supported by U.S. airpower, some Sunni tribal fighters, and Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces wrested it from Islamic State control. The city of 400,000 people was destroyed in order to liberate it — and now Fallujah faces a similar fate, as Iraqi forces pushed farther into the city over the weekend. The limited reporting coming out of the area tells a story of atrocities against civilians from both the Islamic State and Shiite militias.

He goes on to cite three lessons learned when he was fighting in Ramadi.

The first one?  "Killing off terrorist leaders is only a short-term fix."

It's a hollow victory at best -- no victory at all at worst.

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In 4 1/2 years covering Syria and Iraq I've never seen conditions this bad. No tents. No water. No words.

Didn't have to be that way.

People could have planned.

The US government, the Iraqi government.

They could have worked on a political solution.

Remember that?

US President Barack Obama did.

On June 19, 2014.

But then in August, he began the daily bombings of Iraq and never remembered it again.

John Kerry couldn't help -- he was too busy posing as the Secretary of Defense to do the job he was paid to do: Secretary of State.

Falluja today?

It's not what victory looks like.

: Continuing allegations of serious violations against civilians fleeing Fallujah, v

Iran Amok (DAILY BEAST) reports:

Despite priding itself on freedom from the sectarianism that has plagued militias such as Badr, the ICTS seems to be maintaining a strategic, suspicious relationship with the Hashd.
On June 17, The Daily Beast witnessed Hadi al-Amiri, leader of Badr, meeting with Abdulwahab al-Saadi, leader of the operation to retake Fallujah. Several other leaders from the ICTS also were present.
Earlier that day, al-Saadi had criticized the Hashd, telling The Daily Beast, “The civilians see the Hashd as militiamen who can’t be controlled,” yet one of al-Amiri’s bodyguards asserted that the two men meet about three times a month. The ICTS blocked The Daily Beast and other journalists from the meeting.
The overt cooperation between Badr, a sectarian militia, and the ICTS, the one branch of the Armed Forces that has avoided sectarianism, will further divide Sunnis from the Iraqi government.
Even the Shia militias in the northern suburbs have tarnished the Iraqi government’s attempts at a nonsectarian campaign in Fallujah.
Omran Wali, another Kataib Hezbollah commander in al-Saqlawiyah, claimed, “We have been welcoming the civilians and treating them very well, bringing them to the camps for internally displaced people.” But an official investigation revealed that Shia militias have killed 49 civilians in the northern suburbs, and another 643 are missing. Iraqis are discussing rumors that the militias executed those missing in retaliation for an ISIS massacre at Camp Speicher near Tikrit in 2014.

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