Retired military Lt Michael T. Flynn served as Director of Defense Intelligence Agency from July 2012 to August 2014. He's now penned a column for POLITICO in which he argues that US President Barack Obama's efforts against the Islamic State will fail:
Unless the United States takes dramatically more action than we have done so far in Iraq, the fractious, largely Shiite-composed units that make up the Iraqi army are not likely to be able, by themselves, to overwhelm a Sunni stronghold like Mosul, even though they outnumber the enemy by ten to one. The United States must be prepared to provide far more combat capabilities and enablers such as command and control, intelligence, logistics, and fire support, to name just a few things.
Yet to defeat an enemy, you first must admit they exist, and this we have not done. I believe there continues to be confusion at the highest level of our government about what it is we’re facing, and the American public want clarity as well as moral and intellectual courage, which they are not now getting.
Erin Banco (International Business Times) reports:
The U.S. effort to stop the Islamic State group in Iraq’s Anbar province, though only a few months old, is being hindered by the Iraqi military, the partner President Barack Obama said on multiple occasions was cooperating with all of the country’s sects to stop the militant group’s advance. In a replay of the “Sunni Awakening” strategy in 2006 that funneled arms to Sunni tribes in western Iraq in a successful bid to stop al Qaeda, the U.S. enlisted tribal leaders to halt the Islamic State group with American weapons. But now leaders and their fighters say they have not received any of those weapons, because the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Army is hoarding them in Baghdad.
“The U.S. government has not provided us with the weapons directly. The Iraqi military has them,” Muhand Murshad Drueesh Alwany, a Sunni militiaman in Ramadi who also fought alongside U.S. troops in Anbar in 2007, told International Business Times. “American soldiers are so far only consulting and training in their mission in Anbar, and are also conducting airstrikes.”
A trench project is being carried out. It's a moat.
Those of us with long memories who were paying attention in 2006 may remember that when the Green Zone was almost breached one June Friday, Baghdad went into a panic. Walls were put up all over (Nouri was out of the country at the time and expressed outrage over this and insisted the walls would come down when he returned to Baghdad -- didn't happen). Nouri's plan was a moat around Baghdad. That, Nouri felt, was the answer. That didn't happen either.
But Reuters notes a moat is being dug to protect Kerbala and they explain some reaction to this:
Many Sunnis, however, fear the trench is not a temporary security measure but just one more example of how they are being expelled from sensitive areas in central Iraq, which they say the Shi’ite majority wants to control.
The trench and an accompanying berm, now more than half built, wind through traditional Sunni tribal lands whose civilian population has been caught in the crosshairs between Islamic State insurgents and military offensives by Shi’ite militias and Iraqi security forces.
“The goal is for the Shi’ite militias to cleanse the Sunnis from the area,” said a sheikh from al-Aweisat, an agricultural region about 40 km southwest of Baghdad that has been cut up by the trench.
These are not things that take Iraq away from the brink.
June 13, 2014, Barack stated:
I do want to be clear though, this is not solely or even primarily a military challenge. Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future. Unfortunately, Iraq’s leaders have been unable to overcome too often the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there, and that’s created vulnerabilities within the Iraqi government as well as their security forces.
So any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force. We can’t do it for them. And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed.
So this should be a wake-up call. Iraq’s leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the Iraqi people in order to bring the country together. In that effort, they will have the support of the United States and our friends and our allies.
There's been no movement on any political solutions -- or even on just one.
So the US is going to have to waste more money and for nothing. And the Iraqi military is going to have fight and die for nothing.
This is the same problem and it's still not being addressed.
Throwing bombs at it isn't a solution.
I'm opposed to war.
But if there was a political solution going on along with a military solution, maybe a case could be made for US involvement.
But eight months ago, Barack told the world Iraq required a political solution and there's been no solution, there's been no movement towards a solution.
In fact, Haider really is another Nouri.
He gets applause for announcing he will stop the military bombing of civilians in Falluja. But the bombings continue. Empty words.
He gets applause for reaching an agreement on oil with the Kurds. But the 'agreement' was just words and is being used -- the prospect of the supposed deal -- is being used for leverage. Empty words.
It's bad enough in my opinion that the Iraq War continues. But to keep spending money on it and to ignore that nothing is changing is insanity.
Either Barack is nuts or he just wants the war because he and his administration have done nothing to move Iraq towards a political solution.
Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 72 dead across Iraq from violence on Friday.
“This is a separation line between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites,” he told Reuters.
We'll note this Tweet by the State Dept's Brett McGurk.
She will have symbolic value.
Whether she'll have more than that was debated hotly in the Iraqi press on Thursday.