Iraqi forces have recaptured nearly 90 percent of west Mosul from ISIS after retaking the city's eastern side earlier this year, a military spokesman said Tuesday.
ISIS still controls "10.5 percent of... the right bank," Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, told a news conference in Baghdad, referring to west Mosul.
Day 209 of The Mosul Slog.
Back in October, when it began, it was supposed to take a few weeks.
209 days later, it still continues.
And it's not even the biggest issue in Iraq.
Let's again note Ben Connable, Natash Lander and Kimberly Jackson's "Beating the Islamic State: Selecting a New Strategy for Iraq and Syria" (RAND CORPORATION):
Root Causes Can Be Bypassed or Suppressed, But Doing So Ensures Lasting Instability
- Failure to address root causes may mean that instability and violence will outlast any individual armed group. Yet there is little appetite for the effort required to address root causes in Iraq and Syria. Current strategy has thus taken a middle-ground approach that does not truly reflect U.S. understanding of irregular war.
- The research centered on the two prominent theories about root causes in Iraq and Syria, disenfranchisement and the effects of ethnosectarian discord. While the latter does have an influence, but the deeper cause in these two countries is disenfranchisement from the central governments and from the protections they should be providing their entire populations.
- Debate over what to do about disenfranchisement is growing; this report argues shifting toward political action while maintaining military pressure against IS.
And among the key findings:
Sectarianism is destroying Iraq.
And has been destroying Iraq.
And it's the issue that never gets dealt with.
Remember the 18 benchmarks the White House created in 2007 to measure success in Iraq?
Most people appear to have forgotten them.
CNN noted in September 2007, "The benchmarks were created by lawmakers as part of a $120 billion war-spending bill passed in May, which asked the GAO -- the investigative arm of Congress -- to give a definitive answer as to whether each benchmark was met or not, instead of reporting partial progress."
One of the benchmarks was national reconciliation.
And ten years later, that's still not happened.
Ten years later, it's still the biggest threat to security in Iraq.
Ten years later, ISIS is being fought because of it and ISIS took root in Iraq because of it.
In the last 2 days US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have killed 35 civilians, including many women and children http://ow.ly/qHzt30bJDUD
The US began these rounds of bombings in August of 2014.
They're daily bombings.
There was no effort began in August of 2014 (nor an existing one that got intensified) to foster national reconciliation in Iraq.
Instead, weapons were handed over, money was forked over and US troops were sent into Iraq in larger numbers -- all with no strings attached.
Because a diplomatic toolbox only works if you have a diplomat running the State Dept and during this period the Secretary of State was John Kerry who preferred playing toy soldiers and pretending he was the Secretary of Defense.
These bombing missions have cost the US taxpayers billions.
But no one in government took the time to ponder how things could be improved with diplomacy or how giving Iraq F-16s with no strings attached was deeply foolish.
#Iraq | More than 16,000 #ISIS members killed since start of #Mosul operations http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/16000-islamic-state-members-killed-since-start-mosul-operations-spokesperson/ …
Have they all been killed?
Of course not.
That's not how a rebellion works.
ISIS is a terrorist group and it has connected with so many because of the persecution of Sunnis that ISIS is a response to.
So national reconciliation could destroy ISIS for good.
National reconciliation efforts also wouldn't have harmed or threatened children -- unlike the ongoing bombings.
Message From Children In #Syria and #Iraq to US Pilots Dropping Munitons On Them:... http://iraq.trendolizer.com/2017/05/message-from-children-in-syria-and-iraq-to-us-pilots-dropping-munitons-on-them-please-can-you-stop-k.html …
Imagine what Iraq might be like today if, back in August of 2014, the White House had decided to foster national reconciliation instead of bombing.
Imagine what it might look like if the forgotten benchmarks of 2007 had ever been enforced.
The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and Jody Watley -- updated:
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