The fall of Ramadi at the start of the summer was a big blow to US claims of “progress” in the war against ISIS, and officials were eager to both downplay the loss and predict an imminent retaking of the Anbar capital city. Months later, they don’t seem any closer.
Instead of acknowledging this as a failure, however, US officials are trying to shift the blame to political infighting in Iraq, saying the military victory can only come after a political reconciliation that, realistically, doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to happening than the promised military victories.
The big split on the ground in Anbar is between the Iraqi military and the Shi’ite militias that are doing most of the heavy lifting in fighting ISIS, with the military wanting to follow the US plan of getting Ramadi back, and the militias believing nearby Fallujah should come first.
Badr Brigade commanders are similarly using the infighting to shift blame, saying they would’ve taken Fallujah by now but the military isn’t providing them with the heavy weapons they’d need, and are instead massing that stuff around Ramadi, while the military says they can’t take Ramadi without more help from the militias.