White House officials are continuing to counsel patience today in the ongoing war in Iraq, but the continued inability to capture the city of Ramadi, capital of the Anbar Province, is raising growing doubts about the administration’s plans for defeating ISIS.
Indeed, when the US launched the war on ISIS, Iraq still had Ramadi, and the focus was on weakening them and moving against Mosul. When Ramadi fell in May, officials tried to downplay it, saying it would quickly be retaken. Predictions of an imminent victory, or at least the imminent surrounding of the city, have no panned out, and ISIS seems as in control as ever.
This has been a recurring problem throughout the war, with the US and Iraq picking various “key” targets and saying the retaking of that would mean a decisive momentum shift in their favor. The problem is, they never actually manage to retake any of these, and keep picking newer, softer targets.
Ramadi was all the rage in July and August, but now some are talking about the small town of Baiji, with its major refinery, being the “key” to taking Mosul. Similarly, the fighting there is stalled as ever, and both US and Iraqi officials are trading blame for the lack of victories, while insisting to everyone who’ll listen that those victories are just around the corner.