City of Ramadi ‘Recaptured’ — and Reduced to Rubble

January 2nd, 2016 - by admin

The Telegraph & War News Today – 2016-01-02 17:03:04

Video believed to show some of the first footage inside Ramadi after its ‘liberation’ from Islamic State. Footage claims to show Ramadi after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State, as state TV shows Iraqi flag flying over the city
Telegraph Video and AFP, Storyful

(December 28, 2015) — The Iraqi military declared on December 28 that the city of Ramadi in Anbar province had been retaken from Islamic State.

Iraqi special forces had made advances in recapturing Ramadi in the days leading up to December 28.

The footage shows a devastated Ramadi, with crumbling buildings and roads. At one point, troops are seen standing in a deserted street holding an Iraqi flag. It then cuts to the inside of a building to show what appears to be material seized from Isil. In another clip, the body of what appears to be a militant lies face down in the rubble.

Meanwhile more footage, shown on Iraqi broadcaster Al Iraqiya TV, shows Iraqi troops appearing to raise the country’s flag over a building in Ramadi. The US-led anti-IS coalition praised the performance of the Iraqi forces in retaking Ramadi, an operation in which it played a significant role, training local forces, arming them and carrying out what it said were 600 air strikes since July.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated the fighters who retook Ramadi, vowing to liberate the second city of Mosul and rid the entire country of IS in 2016. “We are coming to liberate Mosul, which will be the fatal blow to Daesh,” he said in a televised address.

Today in Afghanistan: Daily Updates
War News Today

(December 30, 2015) — Gen. John Campbell, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, says he wants to keep troops there “as long as possible.” [I wonder how long that is?] “In 2016, Campbell said, Afghan forces will need to devise a better system to drive down attrition rates, take to the fight to the Taliban instead of manning checkpoints, root out bad commanders and do a better jobs of recruiting.” [Well, they’ve had 12 years to work on this.]

NATO air strike hits two Afghan army positions in Logar, killng 7 Afghan soldiers. District governor says the incident is likely a mistake due to “bad coordination.”

Afghan minister of public health says 40% of children in the country are malnourished. He specifically blames imported foods which are unfortified with micronutrients. [The back story here is that diets heavily dependent on grain are incomplete. Wheat flour in the US is routinely fortified with folic acid and iron.]

Security forces in Helmand province have said negligence on the part of senior security force members in Sangin resulted in the fall of parts of the district to the Taliban.

US soldiers took bribes to award trucking contracts worth millions. Two have plead guilty. An Afghan business owner has now been charged in the case.

Russia will provide weapons to Afghan security forces.

IS holds hundreds of civilians in captivity in Nangarhar, their fate unknown. The motive is principally ransom. It appears that those who are not ransomed are killed. [Note: Obviously this means the group also controls territory.]

In Iraq, the defense minister says Ramadi is 80% destroyed. The devastation includes 260 schools, which would require half a billion dollars to rebuild.

UNICEF says an entire generation in Iraq is at risk due to lack of education and health care. Malnutrition is also widespread and water supplies are deteriorating. “More than 2 million children in Iraq are out of school, up to 3 million more have had their education disrupted by the war, and nearly one in five schools have been damaged, destroyed or used for other purposes, the UN children’s fund UNICEF says. Of the schools that are still in use, classes are often overcrowded and lessons taught in shifts.”

Mass grave with 120 bodies, mostly Iraqi security forces, is found in Nineveh province.

The dispute between Iraq and Turkey over the presence of Turkish troops near Mosul continues, with Iraq now threatening unspecified military action. [This is really about the antagonism between Russia and Turkey, with Iraq as a proxy. — C]

Pentagon claims to have killed an IS leader in Syria who had ties to a planner of the Paris massacre.

Update for Monday, December 28, 2015
Suicide attack near Kabul airport kills 1, injures 33, including 18 children. All of the victims are reportedly civilians. The intended target was apparently a minibus that transports foreigner troops to and from the airport, but NATO says none of its personnel were affected. Most of the injured children were students at a religious school.

A woman administering polio vaccine is murdered in Kandahar, and a second public health worker is seriously injured.

New Ministry of Defense complex, built by the US at a cost of $160 million, is formally opened. The US spent an additional $33 million on furniture and $12 million on information technology.

NYT reports US plans to maintain a special operations base in Afghanistan for “years to come.”

Meetings are scheduled among Afghan, Pakistani, US and Chinese officials to try to revive the peace talks with the Taliban. [This will be difficult because at present there is no such thing as “the Taliban.” — C]

In Iraq, video shows the recaptured city of Ramadi essentially destroyed. It will be a long time before people can move back.

Update for Sunday, December 27, 2015
In a disturbing case of mimicry, members of the militia of warlord Haji Zahir, who is also deputy speaker of parliament, decapitate 4 captured fighters who claim loyalty to the Islamic State in Nangarhar. (Again, these are a former Taliban faction who have adopted the brand name.

Whether they have any real operational relationship with the entity in Syria and Iraq is unclear.) This was apparently in retaliation for a similar action by the IS militants. It is also a reminder that Afghanistan is not really a unified nation state as normally understood in modern terms, but more of a feudal society with the Kabul government replacing the role of the king.

Despite being expelIed from Kunduz city, Taliban remain active nearby and resident remain frightened among continued food shortages.

Militants kill 6 members of a family in eastern Kunar in a home invasion. The motive is not explained.

Bomb targeting a police patrol in Lashkar Gah kills 2 police and a bystander.

A meeting of elders in Nangarhar decries insecurity and warns of protests if the government does not respond. Schools and hospitals in some districts are closed.

Al Jazeera reports that 21 government soldiers have been killed in Helmand in the past 48 hours as fighting remains intense near Sangin.

In Iraq government forces and allied militias finally claim victory in Ramadi, seizing control of the government complex, although apparently some IS fighters remain in the city.

The Iraqi army also claims advances near Fallujah, while peshmerga raid an IS base in Hawija and claim to have killed several fighters, although it is unclear whether their mission to free prisoners was successful. There are reports, that the US denies, that US Special Forces were involved.

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