The top officials in Iraq’s Anbar Province are pushing hard for a US ground invasion, warning the situation is worsening, and that ISIS is close to completing the takeover of the province.
The reality is that the province fell in all the ways that matters months ago, with Ramadi and Fallujah falling way back in January, and ISIS making other key gains in April and May. They talk of ISIS sending 10,000 fighters to Anbar, but its not clear that any of those are new fighters who haven’t been there since the summer.
Indeed, the Anbar Province “officials” only remain such because the Iraqi government didn’t bother to hold elections there during this year’s vote, what with the province overwhelmingly held by ISIS.
The officials clearly are all in exile elsewhere in the country, trying to push the Iraqi military, or the Kurds, or anybody else to retake the province to reinstall them as a provincial government. With Iraq’s military losing battle after battle in Anbar, they’re now hoping the US is their ticket to a return to rule.
Yet the massive unpopularity of the US in Anbar after the bloody 2003-2011 occupation makes it a risky strategy, and the civilians killed in eastern Anbar earlier this week in US airstrikes are just adding to the large number of Anbar residents who see virtually anyone as preferable to the US, and by extension, to a US-installed puppet.