Iraq: ISIL advances to within 9 miles of 300 US troops at al-Ain Base

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –

The Jordanian newspaper al-Dustur [Constitution] reports that Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) has captured the al-Anbar city of al-Baghdadi in western al-Anbar Province.

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Twenty-five Daesh commandos, some of them with suicide bomb belts, then threw themselves at the outskirts of the al-Ain military base about 9 miles away, where 300 US troops are stationed. That attack was beaten off, but there were fears for the safety of the big US contingent of trainers and special forces personnel at the base.

A US General Kirby maintained that the Daesh advance was not significant and that it is rare it gains a new town. But in fact, Daesh has been expanding its territory in western Iraq, even in the face of US bombing raids. The major Iraqi town it has lost in al-Anbar Province is Jurf al-Sakhr in the far south of the province near the capital.

That the Daesh extremists could take a town so near an Iraqi base, not so far from the capital, raises questions yet again about the competency of the Iraqi army.

The Iraqi government rejected the idea of foreign infantry troops being stationed in al-Anbar, and tried to shoot down allegations that the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad was not very interested in the fate of strongly Sunni al-Anbar.

10 Responses

  1. “raises questions yet again about the competency of the Iraqi army.”

    You mean the Iraq army that is on paper only in order to receive paychecks, which are then shared with the chain of command?

    It bears repeating that the US is ill equipped to wage war in the middle east. If neighboring countries in the region won’t join in the ground fight then we should take that as a sign it is a fools mission.

  2. Yesterday, Quds Force commander, Iranian General Qassem Suleimani said ISIS fighters were “nearing the end of their lives” because of all the recent defeats in Syria and Iraq.

    This attack was beaten off with NO casualties among Iraqis. Most of the ISIS fighters died. They attacked HUNDREDS of Iraqi troops with just 25 suicide bombers.

    • and yet there seems to be an endless supply of Daesh volunteers just asking to be killed in battle.

      • “Considering the heavy defeats suffered by Daesh and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, we are certain these groups are nearing the end of their lives.” Qassam Suleimani

        I think his opinion is closer to the truth than what I’ve heard from the Obama administration or the media. Daesh has been taking a real beating for months. Obama’s war plans might have more to do with Ukraine than Daesh. Today’s Washington Post showed satellite images of Russian artillery systems and multiple rocket launchers in eastern Ukraine. Putin will fight this out until the bitter end, IMO.

        • I’d implore you to read Robert Parry’s reporting on Ukraine at Consortium News. The context about Ukraine has been almost completely fabricated and to believe it only creates a competitive urge akin to the Cold War. There is nothing romantic about a nuclear conflict. We should all reassess what kind of leadership would have us back in one.

        • Robert Parry is very well informed. His article on nuclear conflict actually makes the case why there will be war, IMO. I doubt Putin will use nukes for the same reason Iran will never build or use them. Hillary Clinton put it like this: They would be “TOTALLY OBLITERATED.”

          In another article Parry talks about the snipers used during the takeover of Ukraine. You can use youtube and listen to Estonian foreign minister Umas Paet tell EU’s Cathy Aston that Right Sector Nazi types were the real shooters. It’s an 11 minute phone call. Fascinating, the ‘lil people don’t hear those type of phone calls very often. Policemen and demonstrators had entry and exit wounds from the same type of guns. They pulled a coup with a lot of help from the west.


    • The legal problem is entirely hypothetical. No one has standing to challenge an executive foreign policy action like bombing Daesh. If Congress did have such standing, GOP hawkishness and Dem solidarity with Obama would cause them not to exercise it. Nor is there a higher level entity–other than the electorate–to appeal to.

      Unfortunately(?), the executive isn’t, for practical purposes, bound by normal rules–with regard to foreign policy.

      Is there something I’m missing?

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