Thursday, July 16, 2015

The More, the Merrier

The Iraqi offensive into Anbar province against ISIL may not be racking up results yet, but it is still ongoing, at least:

As Iraqi forces prepare to try to recapture the city of Falluja, tens of thousands of civilians find themselves trapped between Islamic State militants ready to use them as human shields and a government suspicious of their loyalties. ...

The outskirts of Falluja are at least spared air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition, because the government forces advancing on the city are mostly Iranian-backed Shi'ite "Hashid Shaabi" militias, which Washington is reluctant to support.

There is, however, air support for the Iraqi army forces advancing on the provincial capital Ramadi, halfway between Falluja and Baghdad, from where thousands fled in April and May as Islamic State seized the city.

The question of whether the Iraqi effort will seek to actually retake major portions of Anbar rather than thrash around a bit and call it a day is important to answer if Jordan is to intervene at the western end of Anbar province.

Jordan has sealed the border:

A Jordanian government official and the state news agency Petra say Iraq has closed the only border crossing between the two countries.

This could certainly just be to isolate the region as a defensive measure against leakage into Jordan.

Or it could be that Jordan is emptying out eyes in the region prior to entering the battle.