Islamic State seizes Ramadi
The Baghdad government’s hopes of driving back the caliphate in Iraq's largest province suffer a heavy blow
THE DAY before Islamic State (IS) swept Ramadi, the largest city in western Iraq and the capital of Iraq’s biggest province of Anbar, the head of the province’s 13 Sunni tribes warned that its loss was a foregone conclusion. From his seat of exile across the border in Jordan, Tarik Alabdullah al-Halbusi protested that the government had broken its promises. It had reneged on earlier commitments to arm and integrate Anbar’s Sunni tribesmen into Iraq’s Shia-dominated security forces and turned to its allied Shia militias to fight IS instead. This was a huge mistake. Fearful of being overrun and expelled by the Iran-backed militias, his Sunni tribesmen have been turning in droves to IS. “They give jobs to the unemployed and pay salaries on time,” Mr Halbusi said.
The loss of Ramadi on May 15th is a serious blow to the government in Baghdad. After the fall of Tikrit, a provincial capital north-east of Baghdad, in March, the hope had been to drive IS out of Anbar province before turning north. IS has long controlled much of Anbar, but its main city, Ramadi, was mostly in government hands, though subject to IS incursions. That bastion has now mostly gone, though fighting continues.
IS is now threatening Baiji, Iraq’s largest oil refinery. In Syria, it is menacing the southern suburbs of Damascus and is moving into the outskirts of the archaeological treasure of Palmyra, Syria’s ancient Roman-era capital. Despite the efforts of an
American-led multinational coalition, IS controls not only most of Iraq’s Syrian border, but its Jordanian and much of its Saudi border too. Last month it detonated three suicide truck and car-bombs at Tureibil, Iraq’s last government-held border crossing to Jordan.
The bad news was mitigated by America's announcement on May 16th that it had killed a senior IS leader in a raid by its commandos in eastern Syria. Abu Sayyaf was believed to be responsible for oilfields held by IS, which generate much of the group's cash. He may be the second top official to die in a week. On May 13th the Iraqi government claimed that a coalition airstrike in northern Iraq had killed Abu Alaa al-Afari, the group's number two figure—although America has disputed the account. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, IS's predecessor, was defanged partly by America assassinating its senior leaders.
Achieving a similar effect on IS, though, will require more from the region's own governments. IS’s gains have often been the product of their mistakes. The group's advances across Iraq and Syria have been due not just to its force of arms and terrifying reputation for violence, but also to the lack of a political process in either country.
A month ago Mr Halbusi went to Baghdad to negotiate a new pact between the government and the tribesmen of Anbar. His model was the Sunni Awakening he had devised nine years earlier with General John Allen, then the deputy commander of America’s marines in Anbar, to rid the province of al-Qaeda. (General Allen is now President Barack Obama’s envoy to the coalition against IS.) Within eight months, tens of thousands of tribesmen recruited, armed and paid for by America had regained control of the province for the coalition, with few battles fought. Most militants simply switched sides. “We want to use the same concept again,” says Mr Halbusi.
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Haider Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister (and a Shia), agreed in principle, speaking of the need for Sunni participation and integration in the “popular mobilisation” against IS. But a few days later on a visit to Habbaniya, Britain’s old military base in Anbar, Mr Abadi issued the Sunnis only a few old guns. Flush from their victory over IS in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown and powerbase, Mr Abadi agreed to give the Shia militias a second whack at Anbar. “The government wants to destroy the dignity of the
Sunnis,” says Mr Halbusi.
The problem is that Iraq’s Shia-dominated authorities fear that any weapons they issue to the Sunni tribesmen may find their way to IS and be turned on them. Rebuffed by the government, the tribes turned to Western powers, hopeful that they might arm them directly much as they do the Iraqi Kurds. They got some verbal support in America’s Congress, but received nothing on the ground, though the Americans are now operating a training camp in Anbar. His tribesmen,
I have gone through the article and find it brief enough to the extent it included the salient points to clarify the the loss of Ramada that has undermined the authority's dependency on the center government and the impact it would have on its loss to the country.
It also points out the dangerous discrimination the center government is practicing with Sunnis which is similar to the Malik's line of thinking which would be devastating for the country.
It is very pathetic that two big countries are playing in the hands of Iran using it resources to bolster the might of Iran indirectly by listening to Iraqi whims.
However, Israel has also got a stake in the matter as it is still a candidate to be in charge of the MID EAST Region where upon if it patches up the difference with US which if done would shock the world.
Where upon the region would be divided into two blocks.
Iran block with China and Saudi with US. Here it would be minus Israel.
G W Bush has masterminded war to usurp the Mid East natural resources but forgot to see the underlined division build up due to the two wars between China and US.