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Military Connection: The Fall of Ramadi

dust

By Debbie Gregory.

The Iraqi security forces abandoned the last remaining positions in Ramadi as the city fell to the militant group Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS), who ransacked the provincial military headquarters, seizing a large store of weapons, and killing people loyal to the government. The fleeing Iraqi Army units left behind millions of dollars of American-made military gear, including dozens of tracked vehicles, among them about half a dozen M1 Abrams tanks and about 100 armored Humvees and other vehicles.

The chaotic battle involved a dust storm, dozens of Islamic State car bomb attacks and a breakdown in communications between Iraqi troops on the ground and the American advisers providing them with air support. The dust enabled militants to launch a wave of suicide bomb attacks at a moment when the city streets were shrouded in orange haze.

the spokesman for Anbar’s governor, said that at least 500 civilians and security personnel had been killed.

“Men, women, kids and fighters’ bodies are scattered on the ground,” said Sheikh Rafi al-Fahdawi, a tribal leader from Ramadi, who was in Baghdad on Sunday and whose men had been resisting the Islamic State.

Iraqi troops had limited visibility and feared their American ally’s capability to provide air cover might be compromised. The initial attack targeted Ramadi’s governing center, where the Iraqi Army maintained a heavily fortified headquarters.

“There was an armored bulldozer which knocked over the T-wall perimeters, which then was the first explosion. They then had an armored dump truck, an armored Humvee,” one senior State Department official said in describing the initial attack.

That was the first in a series of about 30 car bombs that took out entire city blocks.

The deterioration of Anbar over the past month underscored the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi Army, which is being trained by American military advisers. It also raised questions about the United States’ strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

The Iraqi Army tried to send a “reinforcing column” into Ramadi’s city center, but those troops immediately came under fire and retreated, “which then began a broader retreat from where the security forces were holding,” a State Department official said.

About 3,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Iraq, most advising and training Iraqi forces inside secure military installations. U.S. officials repeatedly have said they believe the strategy to defeat ISIS is working, and no major changes are needed.

Still, officials acknowledge the loss of Ramadi as a significant victory for ISIS and its attempt to expand its so-called caliphate.

But U.S. officials hope the setback is temporary and say this defeat looks nothing like the ISIS advance last June. When militants seized Mosul, Iraqi Army units fled in droves and ISIS consolidated control over dozens of cities in northern Iraq.

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Military Connection: The Fall of Ramadi: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: US Troops to Return to Anbar? By Debbie Gregory

Anbar ProvinceDepartment of Defense officials are devising a plan to send U.S. personnel to Iraq’s Anbar Province. The mission of American service members has not changed. If sent into the region, they would act as advisors for Iraq’s forces against the Islamic State.

Advisors from the U.S. military are currently operating in areas near Baghdad and Irbil in the northern part of Iraq. This new plan would put U.S. troops in the middle of some of the heaviest fighting in the country.

The majority of Iraq’s Anbar Province is currently under the control of the Islamic State. Officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, believe that providing training and support for Iraq’s Sunni tribes to go on the offensive against the Islamic State is crucial to defeating the terrorist group.

In a news conference last week, Gen. Dempsey hinted at the possibility of the new role after discussing a report on a Sunni tribe that has suffered mass executions at the hands of the Islamic State.

“That”s why we need to expand the train-advise-and-assist mission into the Al- Anbar Province,” Dempsey told reporters. “But the precondition for that is that the government of Iraq is willing to arm the tribes.”

Dempsey reported that the United States had “positive indications” from the Iraqi government that they were prepared to do that, but had not yet done so.

Pentagon officials believe that such a mission could open the door to the formation of an Iraqi National Guard, while at the same time aid Iraq in regaining control of the province from the Islamic State.

As of yet, there is no timeline when U.S. troops would be staged as advisors in the Anbar Province.

During the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Anbar was the setting of a violent insurgency. It was only with the help of Sunni tribes that al Qaeda was driven from the region. During this conflict against the Islamic State, thousands of Sunni have died, including 400 members of the Abu Nimer, who were recently killed after standing up to the Islamic State.

Many believe that without aid and training from the U.S., any Iraqis who want to remove the Islamic State from their land will be hard-pressed to do so.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US Troops to Return to Anbar? By Debbie Gregory