Thursday, May 28, 2015


Austin Bay provides a little more clarity on what really happened when ISIS overran Ramadi and forced the Iraqi army to retreat. It makes what happened there understandable in the kind of human terms we can all appreciate.
Credit the senior official for setting straight Ramadi's history. Iraqi defenders didn't just bug out. ISIL struck Ramadi in January 2014, six months prior to attacking Mosul. When ISIL's blitz failed, Ramadi became a battle of attrition. For 18 months, ISIL fighters controlled "half the city." Attrition is a euphemism for killed and wounded. Iraqi forces suffered "thousands of casualties" in Ramadi. The briefer mentioned no specifics, but in March and April 2015, Iraq's Ramadi forces beat back repeated ISIL attacks. 
Then the briefer turned to ISIL's assault of May 14: "Over the course of 96 hours in Ramadi, and what we've been able to collect ... (ISIL used) about 30 suicide VBIDs in Ramadi and the environs. ... Ten of them, I've been told, had the explosive capacity of an Oklahoma City type attack. So just to put that in perspective." 
OK, so far. Then this follows: "If you look at the pictures that ISIL has put out of the explosions -- I mean, I have some of them -- it's just they took out entire city blocks."
I don't think American airpower is the answer because that's how we get sucked into pointless and futile wars of attrition. If they mean to cripple ISIS they need to start treating them the way we treated Germany and Japan. Cut off the fuel supply to ISIS controlled territory.


Anonymous said...

Pathetic article in all respects highlighting an analysis that is as trustworthy as Mexican tap water.

HMS Defiant said...

Perhaps. Ramadi was the provincial capital of a Sunni province important to the state. They didn't let go and run away until they lost. One needs to keep in mind what happened to the USMC in Beirut back in 1983. The Iraqi army may have them but they were trained by us in COIN and not how to take out armor so I find it likely they didn't have any anti-tank weapons with which they could repel the kind of attack described above.

Austin Bay has been pretty on target over the course of the Wars in the middle east. I'd extend anything he has to say on the topic the respect he's earned by his writings to date.