No-win scenario? Or bad choices in arms sales?

CENTCOM confirmed on Wednesday that a US airstrike hit a factory in Hawija, a city in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province, where ISIS makes giant car bombs (“Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device,” or VBIED) of the type that were used to devastating effect in its capture of Ramadi last month. Per VICE, the Kurdish news service Rudaw is… Continue reading No-win scenario? Or bad choices in arms sales?

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Over the weekend, ISIS finally completed its capture of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s (if it can even still be said to be part of Iraq) Anbar Province. You may recall that a few weeks ago, Martin Dempsey argued that Ramadi wasn’t as important as, say, the oil refinery at Baiji, and in a sense… Continue reading Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Iraq: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Forward: Kurdish forces liberated Sinjar and saved a whole bunch of Yazidis from their desperate straits in the mountains around the town. Back: ISIS has probably regained control of the key refinery town of Baiji from the Iraqi army, though while they likely have retaken the town it’s not clear that they’ve captured the refinery… Continue reading Iraq: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

The Army That Wasn’t There

When Mosul fell to ISIS in June, lots of theories were put forward about why the Iraqi Army folded so easily despite vastly outnumbering and outgunning its enemies. Lack of training and combat experience was often cited, and with good reason; the decision to basically scrap the existing Iraqi Army and start over from scratch… Continue reading The Army That Wasn’t There

ISIS’s success is more about Iraq than about the Iraqi army

While ISIS consolidates and extends its gains in Iraq, capturing the mostly Sunni (but also mostly Turkmen, not Arab) city of Tal Afar in the north and pushing toward Samarra, which is also mostly Sunni but is home to one of the holiest Imami Shiʿa shrines in the world, a considerable amount of discussion has… Continue reading ISIS’s success is more about Iraq than about the Iraqi army