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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Washington Post Editorial, "Recapture of Ramadi is a significant victory against the Islamic State": Incorrect

In an editorial entitled "Recapture of Ramadi is a significant victory against the Islamic State," The Washington Post begins (my emphasis in red):

"THE RAISING of the Iraqi government’s flag in the center of Ramadi on Monday marked an encouraging advance in the war against the Islamic State — and not just in the territorial sense. The recapture of the Sunni city seven months after it was overrun by jihadists . . ."

This is incorrect. Iraqi Gen. Ismail al-Mahlawi stated yesterday:

"We can't say that Ramadi is fully liberated. There are still neighborhoods under their control and there are still pockets of resistance."

Even The New York Times acknowledges in an editorial mistakenly headlined "The Importance of Retaking Ramadi" that "There is still resistance in 20 to 25 percent of the Ramadi area, and efforts to fully secure it are expected to take more time, Iraqi and American officials said." In this regard, I would observe that Gen. al-Mahlawi believes that 30 percent of Ramadi remains under the control of ISIS. Moreover, anyone familiar with the urban conflict in Syria knows that fighting in Ramadi can drag on for months or years.

It would be amiss not to mention the inane opening of the aforesaid New York Times editorial:

"Iraqis were celebrating on Monday and understandably so. After days of heavy fighting, their security troops, backed by American airstrikes, reportedly recaptured central Ramadi, a provincial capital 60 miles from Baghdad that was overrun by the Islamic State seven months ago."

Iraqis were celebrating? To which Iraqis is this editorial referring? Its Shiite majority? Probably. Kurds living in their autonomous region, who have not been involved in the battle? They are more interested in preserving their independence. Iraq's Sunnis? Many support the Islamic State.

You see, Iraq no longer exists as a country. Or stated otherwise, still more drivel from the Times.

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