Iraq

What’s the common thread in Obama’s anti-ISIS campaign? Acquiescence to Iran

Featured image How goes the Obama administration’s campaign to “degrade and destroy” ISIS? Badly, according to Max Boot. In Iraq, there have been a few modest successes. But Obama refuses to provide direct support to Sunnis in Anbar and Nineveh provinces, and the Iraqi government, still strongly influenced by Iran, will not supply arms and equipment either. The folly of Obama’s policy in Iraq is self-evident. He relies on proxy forces to »

U.S. air support minimal as ISIS pushes deep into Ramadi

Featured image ISIS has intensified its push to capture Ramadi, a city of nearly half a million people and the capital of Anbar province: Islamic State fighters on Tuesday penetrated to the core of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Iraq’s largest province, prompting local security officials to warn that the city was on the verge of falling to the extremists. Such a gain would be the Islamic State’s most significant victory in »

Chuck Hagel — not a war time consigliere [With Comments by John]

Featured image Good news. Chuck Hagel is out as Secretary of Defense, or will be as soon as a successor is nominated and confirmed. Let’s hope that any effort by the Republican Senate to block the confirmation of Obama administration appointees will exempt the Secretary of Defense position for national security reasons. The reason for Hagel’s ouster (let’s not take seriously the claim that he wanted out) is said to be that »

Still More Troops to Iraq?

Featured image As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, Nobel Peace Prize update: Obama Says More Troops to Iraq Possible. We’re told that the 1,500 additional troops sent last week are for “training” purposes.  What difference will training make at this point, if all the training of the last decade failed so miserably?  The problem isn’t training: it’s that large numbers of Iraqi troops dropped their weapons and ran at the first sight »

Obama brings second knife to gunfight

Featured image Yesterday, President Obama authorized the dispatch of 1,500 more troops to Iraq. They will join the 1,400 already there. U.S. troops will be authorized to go beyond Baghdad and Erbil, but they still will not be allowed to go into combat. Notwithstanding the dispatch of the additional troops, Obama’s response to ISIS remains woefully inadequate. Max Boot explains: Most credible estimates suggest that [Obama] will need to dispatch at least »

The Times Report on Chemical Weapons In Iraq: It’s No Blockbuster

Featured image The front page of today’s New York Times is dominated by a long article on chemical weapons in Iraq. It appears to be the result of a major investigation; bylined by C.J. Chivers, it credits six additional reporters and researchers as well as eight “producers.” The gist of the article is that there were far more chemical weapons in Iraq than were ever publicly reported, and between 2004 and 2011 »

A problem with “boots on the ground”

Featured image It seems likely that air strikes alone aren’t going to accomplish President Obama’s alleged goal of degrading and destroying ISIS, and almost certain that an air campaign of the low intensity we’ve witnessed so far is inadequate. It also appears that the Iraqi Army and the rebels we support in Syria are not up to the task. Accordingly, if we truly want to degrade/destroy ISIS, or even set it back »

ISIS Threatens Baghdad

Featured image Iraq’s government is pleading for the return of American troops as ISIS has advanced to within eight miles of Baghdad: Iraqi officials have issued a desperate plea for America to bring US ground troops back to the embattled country, as heavily armed Islamic State militants came within striking distance of Baghdad. Amid reports that Isil forces have advanced as far as Abu Ghraib, a town that is effectively a suburb »

Obama’s ISIS half-heartedness quantified

Featured image Several days ago, I noted the half-heartedness of President Obama’s air campaign against ISIS. I suggested that ISIS’s march towards Kobani presented a golden opportunity to degrade that outfit, inasmuch as it was traveling in large numbers through mostly open terrain. Instead, our air sorties appear to have been intermittent and limited. Max Boot quantifies the half-heartedness of Obama’s air campaign against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. He does »

General Keane reflects

Featured image The Foundation for Constitutional Government has just released Bill Kristol’s “Conversation” with Gen. Jack Keane. The “Conversation” is one in a series of long-form interviews conducted by Bill with key intellectuals and players. Bill reports that “the reaction to this particular conversation has been terrific,” so he urges interested readers to take a look. He adds: “If you agree it’s worthwhile, do recommend it to others, especially those in the »

Leon Panetta destroys what little was left of Obama’s excuse for not leaving troops in Iraq

Featured image Following in the footsteps of Robert Gates, his Obama administration predecessor at the Pentagon, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has criticized the president’s handling of a key battleground in the war against Islamic terrorism. Gates’ criticism centered around Afghanistan. Panetta’s focuses on Iraq. In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir “Worthy Fights,” which Time Magazine has excerpted, Panetta argues that Iraqi leaders privately wanted U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal »

By fighting ISIS are we aiding Iran?

Featured image Two of the most insightful commentators around — Cliff May and David Frum — worry that America’s fight (such as it is) against ISIS will assist Iran, our deadly enemy. How valid is this concern? There are two main ways in which Iran might benefit from our “war” against ISIS. First, the war might prompt the U.S. to make concessions to the mullahs in exchange for Iran’s help. The Iranians »

Jen Psaki explains

Featured image The president and his flacks are talking as fast as they can to explain that the visible deterioration of our interests around the world has nothing to do do with the actions of the administration itself. This past Sunday on 60 Minutes Obama passed the buck to his intelligence functionaries for failing to foresee the swift rise of ISIS over the past two year. Now his flacks have had to »

Scenes from a sideshow

Featured image Watching the Pentagon press conference displaying the results of the initial strikes on ISIS targets in Syria yesterday, I was struck by the apparent paucity of military targets and the limited nature of the strikes. Looking at the before/after images of a few of the strikes it was difficult to see the difference (not to say it didn’t exist). The Daily Mail rounds up a series of images from the »

Is Obama’s bombing campaign a sideshow?

Featured image President Obama should be commended for yesterday’s air attacks against ISIS. In addition, his decision to bomb the jidhadist Khorasan group, which is believed to be plotting attacks against the West, is praiseworthy. As to this affiliate of al Qaeda, Obama seems, for once, to be acting rather than reacting. Even so, I tend to agree with Max Boot who argues that the most consequential news from the Levant yesterday »

Obama’s “organizing” fantasy

Featured image President Obama has improved upon his statement of the American objective regarding ISIS. He now says that he intends to “degrade and destroy” this barbaric outfit, not merely to convert it into a “manageable problem.” However, Obama has not retracted, or even “walked back,” his statement about how to deal with ISIS. He has consistently taken the position that “what we’ve got to do is make sure that we are »

Surviving an ISIS massacre

Featured image The New York Times produced the video below with credits to Mike Shum, Greg Campbell, Adam B. Ellick and Mona El-Naggar earlier this week. They report: “ISIS massacred hundreds of Iraqi military recruits in June. Ali Hussein Kadhim survived. This is his improbable story.” They add the warning: “Includes graphic images.” The related Times story on the events depicted is Tim Arango’s “Escaping death in northern Iraq.” I thought readers »