Friday, June 17, 2016

Not Loving (Their Own) Death So Much These Days

Jihadis like to boast that they love death while we love life, which is their advantage in waging war against us, they say.

When the Iraqi offensive on Fallujah began about a week or so ago, it stalled with the explanation that the ISIL defenders were die-hard fanatics who would exact a high price for taking the city.

I was skeptical about the fanatic claim given the recent trend of ISIL jihadis in Iraq not seeming to love death so much:

[One] explanation has it that the defenders are stopping the offensive because the ISIL jihadis are ready to fight to the death.

I ask whether the latter is the real explanation because since ISIL lost Ramadi, I question whether ISIL has really managed to put 1-2,000 die-hard defenders in Fallujah when there seems to be a lack of die-hard defenders in the ISIL ranks since then.

And now we have more news from Fallujah:

Iraqi forces on Monday said jihadist fighters were attempting to flee Fallujah by blending in with civilians who have used recently opened corridors to escape the besieged the city.

More than 500 suspected Islamic State members have been arrested trying to sneak out with fleeing civilians since forces ramped up efforts to retake Fallujah, one of the group's most emblematic bastions, two weeks ago.

Apparently, life outside of a last-stand in Fallujah sounds pretty appealing to a number of the ISIL Fallujah defenders.

And the Iraqis have pushed into the city:

Iraqi forces recaptured the municipal building in Falluja from Islamic State militants, the military said on Friday, nearly four weeks after the start of a U.S.-backed offensive to retake the city an hour's drive west of Baghdad.

There is a long way to go to secure the city, but the Iraqis are advancing. And it doesn't look like the Battle of Stalingrad.

I seriously get the impression that we just aren't applying ourselves fully to the defeat of ISIL.

Which should be cause for concern as the jihadis at least continue to demonstrate that they love our death as much as ever.

UPDATE: I'm just not seeing--the last half year--that fight-to-the-death stuff that people keep saying we should see from ISIL:

After beginning their initial assault last month, Iraq’s elite special forces encountered a complex network of booby traps on the city’s outskirts.

They said they expected the barricades to be easier to overcome once they broke through the city’s initial defense lines, and they hoped that a months-long siege of the city had weakened the militants inside.

That appeared to be ringing true Friday as Iraqi forces made faster-than-expected gains.

The militants “realized it’s a lost cause, and they are running away,” said Maj. Gen. Saad Harbiya, an Iraqi army commander.

These thugs aren't the force they were when they burst on the scene in the first half of 2014.

UPDATE: This article says ISIL is fighting to the death in Fallujah, but the story says otherwise:

The sound of gunfire exchanged between Iraqi forces and the small pockets of ISIS militants rang out across the besieged city of Falluja.

ISIS defenses collapsed as Iraqi special forces made rapid advances into the heart of the city Friday- their fiercest push yet to retake Falluja - but by Saturday morning, the battle waged [sic] on.

While pockets of resistance are there, with some jihadis fighting to the death, the overall picture seems to be of a collapse of ISIL resistance rather than a Stalingrad-like fight to hold every block and building against the Iraqi assault.

And if the jihadis aren't dying hard, what is taking us so long to smash the Iraqi branch of their caliphate?