Friday, May 15, 2015

No. Really. Take Your Time

I know, I know. We have the perfect plan for defeating ISIL in Iraq. Could we get a sense of urgency about defeating ISIL?

I'm fine on the general outline of our military effort to defeat ISIL. I've been saying that for a painfully long time.

My main concerns about the plan are including the defeat of Assad and the defeat of Iran inside Iraq in that plan.

But as I have written before, as recently as a month ago when Ramadi was under threat by ISIL:

We're gearing up for our long-awaited "final offensive" to smash ISIL and seem to expect that ISIL will just sit and patiently wait for the killing blow to fall rather than try to seize the initiative and win victories that might preempt our offensive.

Oddly enough, ISIL isn't content to just wait for us to deliver the killing blow. Bizarrely (What? Are they fanatics, or something?), they still keep trying to win the war:

Islamic State militants raised their black flag over the local government headquarters in the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Friday and claimed victory through mosque loudspeakers after overrunning most of the western provincial capital. ...

The insurgents attacked Ramadi overnight using six suicide car bombs to reach the city center, where the Anbar provincial government compound is located, police sources said. ...

"The situation in Ramadi is dire, but the city has not fallen and the battle against criminal Daesh is still ongoing," Anbar governor Sohaib al-Rawi said on Twitter, using an Arabic name for Islamic State.

We have to wait and see if this is accurate or just a Baghdad Bob-inspired April 2003 moment of "there are no Americans in Baghdad" denial of reality.

It took us 29 months from Pearl Harbor to gear up for the D-Day invasion of France. It has been 8 months since President Obama committed us to defeat ISIL in Iraq.

UPDATE: We dismiss the significance of the enemy victory:

"We believe across Iraq and Syria that Daesh is losing and remains on the defensive," said Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the international campaign fighting IS. "Daesh" is the Arabic acronym for the militant group that swept into Iraq from Syria last June and swiftly took control of much of Iraq's north and west.

And if Ramadi has not fallen (and does not fall soon), one could argue that ISIL has achieved only a video victory. (let's leave aside that the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive was a television victory only.)

Yet we also promise to rush weapons to Iraq to cope with the emergency event that is hardly worth mentioning.

UPDATE: It looks like our air strikes helped convince ISIL to pull back from the local government building they seized. So that's good.

UPDATE: But before it got better, this story says that Ramadi was " largely held by the Islamic State[.]"

I don't assume the city is fully under control by Iraqi forces, as of Sunday.

UPDATE: ISIL says they control Ramadi but we say that claim is, what? Premature?

"We're continuing to monitor reports of tough fighting in Ramadi and the situation remains fluid and contested," Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told AFP in a statement.

"It is too early to make definitive statements about the situation on the ground there at this time," she added.

The Islamic State group said earlier Sunday it had taken full control of the Iraqi city after a bloody assault, in a statement posted on jihadist Internet forums.

Well that's just great. I hate it when enemies don't just sit and patiently wait for our perfectly planned killing blow to land.