Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Sitzkrieg Ends?

Iraqi forces have essentially retaken Ramadi from ISIL. It's nice to be back where the Iraqi army was last summer, so don't get cocky. There is a long way to go to defeating ISIL and at this rate ISIL troops will die of old age before they are driven from their conquests.

This is good news:

Iraq's armed forces stormed the center of Ramadi on Tuesday, a spokesman for the counter-terrorism units said, in a drive to dislodge Islamic State militants from their remaining stronghold in a city they captured in May.

No doubt there are jihadis that will need to be cornered and killed. So the fight for Ramadi isn't over.

And ISIL might try another counter-attack as they did recently from the north (which the Iraqis defeated).

But it sure seems like the long march to defeating ISIL is in progress and won't be stopped. Our air strikes didn't defeat ISIL, but it sure seems like we've damaged them to the point where they have lost the ability to maneuver and attack in significant strength.

If Iraq had decent mobile forces backed by our air power and special forces, this would go faster.

Strategypage has related information on ISIL and the appeal of jihadi brutality.

UPDATE: Resistance is light at this point. This is highly misleading, however:

[Defence Minister Khaled al-]Obeidi has said successive operations have shrunk the area controlled by IS from nearly 40 percent of Iraq last year to 17 percent.

I do believe the tide has turned. But those percentages are based on assuming ISIL controlled vast stretches of desert terrain last year and looking only at ISIL-controlled populated territory today.

UPDATE: The Iraqis are confident:

Iraq's army chief was quoted on Wednesday as saying he needed only days to drive Islamic State from the city of Ramadi, whose fall in May exposed the weakness of the Baghdad government and dampened hopes of restoring control in the north and west.

I will say that when jihadis first burst into Anbar in January 2014, the Iraqi government was confident they would restore order in just days. So perhaps it is just an expression.

But I do believe the Iraqis will win this battle.