The Islamic State group took control of Ramadi on Sunday as Iraq withdrew its security forces from the capital of Anbar Province. The victory by the terrorist group -- which is also known as ISIS or ISIL -- is considered to be a great failure for the U.S.-led coalition.
ISIS forces managed to capture Ramadi despite suffering heavy strikes from the U.S.-led coalition over the weekend. The militant group’s victory is viewed as a major setback for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The United States backed al-Abadi in 2014 so that he could replace Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq's prime minister. It was believed that al-Abadi would be more inclusive than his predecessor and reach out to the Sunni minority and Kurds. Shiite leaders, however, staged strong opposition against the new Iraqi prime minister. Their opposition is now more motivated by the defeat.
Former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack believes that ISIS is still a very powerful force. The specialist in Middle East political-military affairs said that the United States should invest more in ground operations in Iraq. “We knew all along this was not a war that could be won with air power alone,” Time magazine quotes him as saying.
It was only on Saturday that U.S. special operations forces took the wife of an ISIS leader as prisoner after killing him. CNN reports that Ramadi has turned out to be “a big failure” for the U.S.-led coalition.
Despite having been trained and supported by U.S. authorities, Iraqi forces are not yet prepared to fight ISIS. The Iraqi government has asked for Shiite militias’ help to recapture Ramadi. This may be further damaging for the Sunni population.
While al-Abadi has promised reforms for Sunnis, there is hardly any change in the situation. Suleiman al-Kubaisi held the government accountable as ISIS forces captured Ramadi. The spokesman for Anbar’s provincial council complained that the central government had neither answered their demands nor sent reinforcements.
ISIS militants performed executions of 140 army soldiers in April. The New York Times reported that the slaughter was broadcast live on a local news channel. The apparent executions were performed at an outpost in Anbar.
While the executions brought instant criticism for al-Abadi, Western diplomats did not believe in the authenticity of the executions. ISIS forces did not claim to have performed the executions.
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