US Claims It's Winning War on ISIS but Plans to Escalate War
June 3, 2015
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Adam B. Lerner / Politico
Washington claims the US is winning the war against ISIS but, at the same time, the Pentagon and the US-led coalition of nations waging war against ISIS have agreed to dramatically escalate military involvement in Iraq. Meanwhile, ISIS troops have captured dams across the country, allowing ISIS to control waterflow into government-held areas downriver. Most recent, they have seized the dams in Ramadi, dramatically cutting water levels to the east.
US, Allies to Escalate Military Involvement in ISIS War
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(June 2, 2015) -- Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken today announced that the US and its coalition of nations involved in the war against ISIS have agreed to dramatically escalate their military involvement in Iraq, including major increases in military aid to the Iraqi government.
The deal, details of which are still emerging, was reached in Paris today during a summit among the leaders. Some 20 countries were involved in the discussion, which focused around Iraqi Premier Hayder Abadi admitting the "setback" of losing the Anbar capital of Ramadi to ISIS.
Abadi promised inquiries into why so many troops left behind large amounts of military equipment, and never fought against ISIS, amid claims that Iraq had a dramatic numerical advantage in the city. Abadi defended the troops, however, saying the real problem was that the US and others didn't send more weapons.
Abadi also addressed coalition calls for better unity with Iraq's Sunni Arab minority, insisting that he had done plenty to reconcile with the Sunnis and that the growth of ISIS was the fault of the international community for failing to stem the flow of foreign fighters.
"We can make sacrifices to fight ISIS but the international coalition has to support us," Abadi added. He said the most important weapons to get from the US and the other nations were anti-tank weapons.
That's because in recent losses to ISIS, Iraqi troops have left behind large numbers of armored vehicles, including tanks. Most of those vehicles were US-made vehicles provided during the occupation, and have given ISIS a glut of modern military gear for the war in both Iraq and Syria.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius affirmed that the involvement in the ISIS war was going to be "long-term," but insisted the coalition was determined to continue their involvement until they win the conflict.
US Claims They're Winning ISIS War
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(June 2, 2015) -- With most of the Paris summit on the ISIS war in Iraq focusing on just how bad the conflict is going, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the US representative at the meeting, seemed to remain in denial about the problems, insisting the US is winning the war against ISIS.
That's been the official US position all along, and it gets reiterated all the more often the more obvious it gets that ground is being lost to ISIS forces. The loss of Ramadi, a city of 500,000 people and capital of Iraq's largest province, is the latest evidence the war is being lost.
Blinken insists that the US has always had the "winning strategy" in the war, backing Iraq with huge amounts of military aid and providing air strikes. During today's summit, the US and other nations agreed to even more shipments of aid to Iraq, including anti-tank missiles.
So far, however, those shipments to Iraq's military tend to end up getting left behind in defeats, and the US airstrikes have centered around destroying US-made vehicles that ISIS has looted from Iraqi forces in the fall of Mosul and other major cities.
While this is clearly just funneling more arms to ISIS and fueling more airstrikes, officials don't seem to have any better ideas, and seem to be determined to continue the war, no matter how bad of an idea it is.
ISIS Closes Ramadi Dam Gates,
Cutting Water Flow to Govt-Held Territory
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(June 2, 2015) -- Dams all along the Euphrates River have become an increasingly important target in the ongoing ISIS war in Iraq. The capture of dams upriver has allowed ISIS to control waterflow into government-held areas downriver. Most recent, they have closed the dams in Ramadi, dramatically cutting water levels further east.
Anbar Provincial Council Chief Sabah Karhout warned that the lower water level to the east, the last part of Anbar that is still government-held, could mean a massive humanitarian crisis across Iraq. He is calling for the US to launch airstrikes on the dam to reopen the water flow.
That's potentially hugely dangerous, not only because Ramadi is a major city of 500,000 people, but because the destruction of the dam is liable to flood parts of the surrounding area, at least temporarily. That's been a long-standing concern in Anbar, as control over the dams has raised the possibility of each side using flooding as a weapon, either offensively or simply as cover for attacks.
The US probably won't launch attacks on the dam, however, as it would undercut Pentagon predictions that the city, and the dam by extension, are going to be retaken in a matter of days.
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