Most of the focus lately has been on Mosul, the largest city Iraq has lost to ISIS, but it’s now been a solid year since ISIS took control of Fallujah, and the troops trying to siege the town are sounding a pessimistic tone as they appear no closer to retaking the important city.
A lot of the problems that underpinned the initial Fallujah takeover have been forgotten, but the loss of the city (and much of nearby Ramadi) began when the Maliki government tried to move against Sunni political rivals as terrorists, leading to mass protests in the Sunni cities, like Fallujah, and military deployments to try to tamp down unrest, which ultimately provided an opening for ISIS.
The sieging troops say that they are on constant alert for sniper fire, and don’t seem to have any hope of retaking the city. Gen. John Allen, the US special envoy trying to drum up support, would only say that he believes that Iraq will “ultimately” retake the city, along with Mosul, as the war continues on.
The complaints from Fallujah troops reflect growing discontent among Iraq’s military leadership, which initially saw US intervention as their ticket to victory, but so far aren’t seeing it getting them back any lost territory.
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