Though officials continue to talk about vague “progress” or “winning” in the Iraqi war against ISIS, there is very little in the way of positive evidence on offer, and a lot of efforts to shift the blame around for not winning a war which all officials were insisting was going to be relatively quick.
With little hope that anything is going to improve any time soon, US and Iraqi officials seem to be setting up future opportunities to blame each other for their failures by putting the onus for military victory on the other.
Centcom spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder is calling on the Iraqi military to take Ramadi “as quickly as possible,” despite the Iraqi military having spent months unsuccessfully trying to surround the city, capital of the Anbar Province, and suffering significant casualties in doing so.
Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari, for his part, insisted Iraq is “making progress” in its usual vague way, but that real victories would require the US to carry out even more airstrikes against ISIS targets in the country, suggesting the “fluctuations” in airstrikes were making it difficult for Iraq to advance reliably.
In both cases, the goal is something the nation talking it up would like to see, but also something that probably won’t happen. Iraq almost certainly will not be able to retake Ramadi any time soon, and with talk that the US is shifting its anti-ISIS focus to neighboring Syria, they’ll probably be, if anything, reducing their air campaign in Iraq.