My take on recent military action in Anbar province: Remember the recapture of the city of Mosul is the 'prize' of Anbar province, and is necessary for the prerequisite "security" -- and of course is one of the key "check off items" that we watch for. It is good that this succesful offensive in Anbar province is being conducted by the Iraqi Army and augmented by the fully functional (U.S. trained) Iraqi Air Force. Compare the effectiveness of the Iraqi military now to that of June of 2014 when they were fleeing from IS under PM Maliki. Leadership does make the difference.

"Security" progress in destroying IS clearly seems to be taking the lead over the "stability" progress that involves cleaning up corruption. Of course the arrest of Maliki will be the prize in the political process. We patiently wait for that, as things percolate in the background. A climactic power struggle of epic proportions is coalescing to finally break out in the open between PM Abadi's administration (working toward reforms, national unity, progress, and an RV) and Maliki, and his old guard.

Possible pre-indicators of a Maliki arrest would be (1) the public release and broadcast of the medical findings regarding Chalabi's death IF foul play is announced; (2) the public dissemination of the corruption files (which Chalabi secured before his death); and (3) the arrest of some 200 corrupt officials who essentially were Maliki underlings.

The Maliki / "200" arrest process could take a while to initiate because there's only one bite at this apple, and the stakes are really high -- simply put, it is key to the future of Iraq and the RV. This complex situation doesn't afford PM Abadi a second chance at striking the "Maliki snake" with a death blow. The first attempt must succeed. Planning, preparation, and precision in execution are necessary, and so, more time (than perhaps we would like to see) may pass without any apparent 'forward motion'. It may actually be quite good that we have seen no piecemeal efforts, in fact a blessing, because it can augur a sudden and comprehensive "executive action". If so, then once this process is given the "green light" (IMO hopefully in if not before December) it should all occur rapidly and be successful -- assuming all the pre-work is handled properly. So let's not fret about the delay, but just pay attention when any pre-indicators manifest. Probabilities are high that right now people at a much higher pay grade are wisely using the time and resources to plan, advise and ensure a sudden, successful strike against the snake, and that is good for us, and Iraq. RB

Re posted Article: Iraq: Foreign ISIL Members Fleeing Al-Anbar
TEHRAN (FNA)- Foreign members and leaders of the ISIL terrorist group are escaping from the Western province of al-Anbar after major advances by Iraq's security and popular forces.