Iraq’s military continues to fail with its attempted military push-back against ISIS, and civilians are bearing the brunt of their most recent attacks, as today’s air strike against ISIS-held Hawija killed nothing but civilians.
Local tribal leaders confirmed 10 civilians slain in the attack, including three children. Hawija was also the site of massive civilian casualties in a military crackdown on protesters in April of 2013, which sparked Sunni unrest that has death tolls soaring ever since.
Today’s killings don’t seem particularly strategic on the part of the Iraqi military even if they hadn’t killed nothing but civilians, as Hawija is far outside of their remaining territory and they don’t seem to have any theoretical opportunity to retake it militarily just because it’s within range of aerial assault.
The touchstone that Hawija was for the Sunni uprising against the Maliki government also makes it a particularly poor choice of target, and it wasn’t clear why Iraq chose to try it, of the many, many cities ISIS now controls.