December 30, 2015


Is this the beginning of the end for Isil in Iraq? (Con Coughlin, 30 Dec 2015, The Telegraph)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), must regret ever making his boastful Boxing Day message that, for all the coalition's efforts, his organisation continues to grow and expand.
"The dawn of 2016 finds Isil very much on the defensive in both Iraq and Syria"

No sooner had his message been broadcast through the Arab media than the Iraqi government announced one of the most significant military gains of 2015 - the recapture of the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi just 60 miles from the capital Baghdad. [...]

In the complex campaign to destroy Isil in both Iraq and Syria, coalition leaders have concluded that it is vital that the ISF has the will as well as the strength to defeat its highly motivated and well-resourced foe. If the threat posed by jihadist fanatics can be eradicated in Iraq, then that will provide a firm platform from which to launch a decisive push to crush Isil in neighbouring Syria.

The "Iraq First" policy, as some coalition commanders now refer to it, has seen American and British military advisers concentrate their efforts on rebuilding the strength of the ISF to the point where they can provide the ground component that will be essential if the Iraqi government is to achieve its long-term aim of reclaiming control of the whole country from Islamist militants.

And, to judge by the success of the joint ISF/coalition operation to recapture of Ramadi, the coalition may now have found a workable template for defeating Isil, one that holds the promise of further significant coalition gains in 2016. that it is based on the recognition that Syria and Iraq don't exist and that their Sunni populations will be separated from the existing governments.

Posted by at December 30, 2015 5:34 PM