Iraq: Shiite Militias change Ramadi Campaign to “I’m Here, O Iraq”, capture southern reaches

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | –

After an outcry and Pentagon criticism, the Shiite militias in Iraq have changed their name for their current campaign to take Ramadi from Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) from “I am here, O Husayn’ to “I am here, O Iraq.” A spokesman for the militias said that the two slogans say the same thing, anyway.

Husayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, is especially venerated by Shiite Muslims and naming the campaign for him could have been interpreted as a sign of sectarianism. Most Sunnis don’t practice the ritual morning for Husayn in the way that Shiites do. Sunnis say they are also disturbed by the presence of Iranian advisors among the Shiite militias.

Iraqi security officials announced that a combination of the Iraqi army, Shiite militiamen, and Sunni tribal levies have already managed to take back from Daesh some of south Ramadi, the capital of al-Anbar Province. They said they had cut off the city from resupply or smuggling in of money, from the south and the west.

At the same time, the provincial council of al-Anbar Province announced that government forces had captured 25 Daesh fighters.

Iraqi formal security forces and the Shiite militias also say that they managed to position themselves inside the University of al-Anbar.

There were allegations that the Iraqi army and its militia alies were engaging in indiscriminate bombardment of Ramadi.


Related video:

Reuters: “Iraqi troops fight to retake Ramadi”

2 Responses

  1. Concerning: leadership

    The political commentary indicating that Obama needs to show more leadership, I believe, is misplaced. There does need to be more leadership, but it seems to me that it has to be at the head of the Iraqi defense forces. By analogy with our own civil war, Lincoln went through several generals until he found one competent to lead Union forces. I -suspect- that Baghdad is having similar birthing problems; finding an army chief with conviction appears to be a major difficulty for Mr. Abadi and the Iraqi leadership. As in Lincoln’s cabinet, there is likely a lot of infighting (some of it corrupt) about who should lead the Iraqi army. Although Ramadi has been a disaster, my thought is that the United States shouldn’t change course now; we can insure that ISIS won’t overrun Baghdad, but the Iraqis themselves need to resolve these leadership problems. Integrating more U.S. special forces into the Iraqi army will not resolve their problems.

  2. Since he is sure that Gitmo is NOT a facility for torturing people,
    but for collecting actionable intelligence,
    I expect Senator Lindsey Graham to prompt President Obama to ask the Iraqi government to turn some of the ISIL captives over to us for custody and debriefing.

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