Victory in Ramadi


Newspaper: Washington Post
Author: Karen de Jong *
Translation: Ismail Shaker al-Rifai
When the Iraqi city of Ramadi, however Daash fell in June, the White House called it "a setback." But many of the administration's critics call it: a disaster, and proof that President Obama's strategy to defeat the insurgency was a failure.
After seven months of progress of the Iraqi forces with the support of the air force of the coalition forces, it has gray restored this week. A senior US administration official: "Ramadi was a test of the readiness of the Iraqi security forces to fight after their collapse in 2014 in Mosul, Iraq's second city, and then in Ramadi, but this time, instead of escape, did not refrain from fighting despite taking such heavy losses. " An official from the city of Ramadi, about 80 miles west of Baghdad: "That is why the battle was important restore gray" and added: "It's not a turning point, but it is an important milestone in the path Daash fight."
The struggle for the restoration of the city of Ramadi
Previous big battles made known as Peshmerga Kurdish forces, with the help of US air strikes, in the north of the city of Sinjar in November, or popular-backed Shiite Iran in the city of Tikrit in March amid forces. This time, the Iraqi army was alone to a large extent on the battlefield, although the Sunni fighters trained by the United States are now turning to gray to grab the land, and to achieve stability in the region.
Victory was born in Ramadi optimistic modest compared to the battles most coming stricter, including attack, which is long overdue for regain control of Mosul: This urban center crowded with three times the population of the city of Ramadi, which has become as operations Daash in Iraq Center since the invasion 18 months ago .
Daash are hundreds of fighters in Ramadi, but the thousands in Mosul, and the expected arrival of reinforcements them from neighboring Syria, where hampered expel Daash for the continuation of the civil war effort.
It is likely to draw the attention of the Iraqi army to Fallujah. Said Colonel Steve Warren, a coalition spokesman, based in Baghdad: "Compared with Ramadi, Fallujah is a lot smaller. . . And less populous, but its population more sympathetic to the enemy ", where US Marines faced the fiercest fighting in the cities since the battle: Hue (Hue) in Vietnam in 1968.
The US military attributes the success in Ramadi for intensive training the Iraqi army by the US coalition partners over the past year, this kind of slow but persistent strategy, it will prevail in the end in the coming battles.
Skeptics noted that the United States has spent tens of billions of dollars to rebuild and train and equip Iraqi security forces, which was dismantling its system after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it has left a mark, it seems, on how long.
But that was the wrong type of training on the current war, but the Colonel Warren's response to this to say: "It was the army, which we have built again, an army counter-insurgency, army like that is capable of conducting checkpoints, remove the explosives. . . . This enemy they face now is a conventional army, something I have not been training the Iraqi army or outfitted him in the first place, what we have been doing for the whole year is a systematic, rebuilding the army, and re-equipped to focus on the threat facing now. . . To be able to put a bridge across the river. . To get into the minefield. . . The integration of the Air Force with ground operations: This is a different kind of war. "
The Daash forces bombings by truck bomb in Ramadi last spring, had been at one time, and it was synchronized may spook the army and Orhbh "and the Iraqi army was not prepared for such a weapon, which has not faced on the battlefield, I do not synthesized excuses for this army, which had a lot of Other problems. But over the past seven or eight months. . . We have prepared the army to deal with, including anti-tank weapons shoulder-fired AT4 and training Iraqis to use the supply.
US forces and saw improvement in intelligence work, the pilots also learned how to deal better with weapons and revised the tactics of insurgents, and coordination with forces on the ground.
Many critics also attribute the collapse of the army in the last year to what he called the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain "vacuum" created by Obama to withdraw US forces in 2011. This has allowed the vacuum to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite sectarian affiliation to put efficiency above, some Sunni leaders joined in the army to Daash.
Unity among different Iraqi military forces will be crucial for future attack in Mosul: the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army, are expected to participate tribal fighters who move now in Ramadi as a force separate from the army.
The current prime minister has promised, Haider al-Abadi, who is also a Shiite, to work to change the sectarian equation in Iraq, but there has been little progress. A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity in the evaluation of the situation in Iraq: "All these things have to move in harmony. . . You can not just ignore the military and political factors focus, our diplomats work day after day about the Iraqi political reconciliation, but it is more difficult in some respects. These existential questions on the Iraqis to ask themselves around. "
"If there is a lesson from last year is this: if they do not unite, if they can not overcome their political differences, any success Ihrznh on Daash will be lost at the hands of an extremist group later, you will benefit from us apart and Afteragahm" the official in the US administration said.
* Karen de Young participant and senior correspondent national security editor for The Washington Post