Some are claiming the defeat of Iraq, through the capture of Baghdad, is a real and near possibility.
I asked earlier if Barack Obama is even trying to defeat ISIS (or ISIL, or the Islamic State, etc). Whether he is trying or not, it doesn’t look like he is succeeding. Perhaps he only means to “manage” ISIS, not to defeat them. Promising to slowly “degrade” ISIS, it seems possible that the Shiite population of Baghdad could fall into their hands.
As the Washington Times reports, “Iraq pleads for U.S. ground troops as Islamic State closes in on Baghdad.”
As Islamic State troops move closer to Baghdad, Iraqi officials have issued a plea for American ground troops to return to the country.
A senior governor claimed that up to 10,000 Islamic State fighters were closing in on the capital, amid reports that forces had reached Abu Ghraid, a suburb of Baghdad, The Telegraph reported Saturday.
Iraqi officials are worried the Pentagon will not be keen to send U.S. soldiers back to an area once dubbed “the graveyard of the Americans” in Anbar Province. In 2004, U.S. troops fought the Battle of Fallujah in Anabar province, the bloodiest battle involving American troops since the Vietnam War.
Regardless, government officials believe that if the province were to fall to the radical Islamic Fighters, then it would be a strategic launching point for a full-force attack on Baghdad.
Nearly 1,500 U.S. troops are already stationed in Baghdad, training the Iraqi army.
Since the Washington Times might be accused of being somewhat “conservative,” I should point out that the Washington Post recently posted a story that is consistent with the Times’ report:
The U.S.-led air war in Syria has gotten off to a rocky start, with even the Syrian rebel groups closest to the United States turning against it, U.S. ally Turkey refusing to contribute and the plight of a beleaguered Kurdish town exposing the limitations of the strategy.
U.S. officials caution that the strikes are just the beginning of a broader strategy that could take years to carry out. But the anger that the attacks have stirred risks undermining the effort, analysts and rebels say.
Yes, this is about Syria, not the territory near Baghdad. But it is still interesting that the Pentagon wants to implement a plan that, if it works, will take years to carry out. How does that protect what is left of Iraq?
My cynicism leads me to wonder if the real plan was always to allow Baghdad to fall. The U.S. government now knows that intervening in Iraq shifted the balance of power toward Shiite Iran. Is this a way of getting rid of a regional ally?