Friday, January 01, 2016

Victory in Ramadi may not yet be proof of strategy, but it is a milestone

By Karen DeYoung January 1 at 1:53 PM, WashPost

When the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to the Islamic State last May, the White House called it a “setback.” The administration’s many critics called it a disaster, and proof that President Obama’s strategy to defeat the militants was failing.

Fast-forward seven months, and Iraqi security forces, backed by coalition air power, recaptured Ramadi this week. But even the administration itself has hesitated to call the victory a vindication, or claim it as evidence that the militants are close to the destruction Obama has promised.

“Ramadi was a test of whether the Iraqi security forces were willing to fight,” following their 2014 collapse in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and later in Ramadi, a senior administration official said. This time, instead of running away, “they incurred huge losses and they didn’t flinch.”

“That’s why Ramadi was important,” the official said of the city about 80 miles west of Baghdad. “It’s not a turning point, but it’s an important milestone.”

(More here.)

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