You know it’s bad when even the Associated Press notices: “Rout In Ramadi Calls US Iraq Strategy Into Question.”
The fall of Ramadi calls into question the Obama administration’s strategy in Iraq.
Is there a Plan B?
The current U.S. approach is a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, prodding Baghdad to reconcile with the nation’s Sunnis, and bombing Islamic State targets from the air without committing American ground combat troops.
But the rout revealed a weak Iraqi army, slow reconciliation and a bombing campaign that, while effective, is not decisive.
On Monday, administration officials acknowledged the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, as a “setback” in America’s latest effort in Iraq. They still maintained the campaign would ultimately bring victory.
But anything close to a victory appeared far off. The Islamic State group captured Ramadi over the weekend, killing up to 500 Iraqi civilians and soldiers and causing 8,000 people to flee their homes. On Monday the militants did a door-to-door search looking for policemen and pro-government tribesmen.
The Daily Mail has this map that shows ISIS closing in on Baghdad:
The “sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” that Barack Obama and Joe Biden hailed as one of Obama’s “great achievements” in 2014 has regressed into chaos as a result of Obama’s premature withdrawal of American troops. But it isn’t just Iraq. Syria is the closest thing to Hell on Earth. Iran is working away on nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Yemen has fallen to Iran’s proxies. Saudi Arabia is looking for nuclear weapons to counter Iran’s. ISIS occupies an area the size of Great Britain. Libya, its dictator having been gratuitously overthrown by feckless Western governments that had no plan for what would follow, is a failed state and terrorist playground.
It seems as though things couldn’t possibly get worse, but they almost certainly will. We are seeing the fruit of a set of policies that were based on the false premise that problems in the Middle East are mostly the fault of the United States. Not only were such policies misbegotten, they have been executed incompetently. The resulting collapse is occurring with sickening speed.