"... the Islamic State is more and more on the defensive. It has not made any significant conquests since the summer. During the past month, it mounted a major offensive in western Anbar Province but achieved only modest gains.
American military officials in Iraq tell me they are confident that a smaller, revamped Iraqi Army will be ready to begin big operations to retake Iraq from the Islamic State in the next four to eight months. Kurdish and Iraqi forces have largely secured Baghdad and its environs, made gains in the cities of Baiji and Samarra, cut off the road by which the Islamic State was supporting its garrison in Mosul from its base in Syria, and are encroaching on Mosul itself. In six to 18 months, the Islamic State may be driven out of Iraq altogether." K. Pollack in the NY Time
"The main road linking Mosul with the Syrian border has been cut and nearly 100 square miles have been liberated." Ignatius
Ken Pollack has an interesting record. First he was for the invasion of Iraq. Then when Rumsfeld's "dead-enders" became a serious impediment to neocon ambitions Pollack was against the war. Now we have the latest "evolution" of Pollackian thought on Iraq.
It is clearly the main propaganda theme of the US Government to claim/fantasize that IS in IRaq/Syria is doomed by the very evilness that has led to their previous success.
Pollack is clearly "signed up" for that as he always has been "signed up" for whatever the powers that be want. Wait! I take that back. I first knew him when he was a junior ME analyst at CIA and I remember him as an honorable, clear thinking young man.
Nevertheless, now he mouths the Power Point briefings given to him in the kind of process that George Romney described as "brainwashing" after his infamous 1965 VN trip.
The Obadi government is just another Shia run sectarian government? Well, no s--t, Shirlock!
Unfortunately for this latest Pollack venture into self-serving boosterism, IS is knocking on the door at Al-Asad air base in western Anbar near Ramadi. The latest reports indicate near total control by IS of the nearby town of al-Baghdadi. This establishes a "block' between Al-Asad and Baghdad.
Reports also say that IS is using suicide bombers for fire support in both A-Baghdadi and in attacks on the airbase.
Can there be any doubt that a major goal of IS at Al-Asad is to kill Americans and take some prisoner? I would say they have figured out the vulnerabilities of the American public rather well. pl
You notice, I hope, that Ignatius makes two separate statement about the situation north and west of Mosul. One is that nearly 100 square miles of territory has been "re-taken." OK, but what is in that 100 square miles and how much was it defended? Secondly, I have seen video of what it is that supposedly blocks the road from Mosul. It was thirty or so men on a barren hilltop overlooking the road from a distance. Let's see what happens when IS tries running a convoy down that road.
On Ignatius', larger point, I agree that the PM and all the other Kurdish groups should be speedily supplied with heavy weapons and supplies. To that end, an arrangement should be made with Iran for transshipment of materiel from Gulf ports to Kurdistan . IMO opinion the Baghdad government cannot be trusted to deliver the goods to the Kurds. pl