Islamic State extremists unleashed a wave of suicide attacks targeting the Iraqi army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops in a major blow to government efforts to dislodge the militants from the sprawling Sunni heartland, an Iraqi military spokesman said Wednesday.
With the attacks coming:
… just hours after the Iraqi government on Tuesday announced the start of a wide-scale operation to recapture areas under the control of the IS group in Anbar.
The Iraqi government and armed forces are under even more pressure to deliver or to confirm what many in Washington, including the Secretary of Defense, are saying about their will and their fighting ability.
Fault lines in what should be an anti-ISIS alliance are also evident in Syria where:
Syria's foreign minister said Wednesday that his government is not pinning any hopes on the U.S.-led coalition striking at Islamic State group militants in his country … At a press conference in Damascus, Walid al-Moallem said the coalition was active in preventing the Kurdish town of Kobani from falling into IS hands last year but that this support seems to have "evaporated" after that. The United States did nothing to prevent the ancient town of Palmyra in Syria or the province of Anbar in Iraq from falling into IS hands, he said.
"We're not pinning any hopes on that alliance and anyone who does is living an illusion," al-Moallem added.
Kentucky senator Rand Paul says the "hawks" in the Republican party helped create and grow the Islamic State terrorist group. Paul, who is running for president, appeared Wednesday morning on MSNBC, where host Joe Scarborough asked him about fellow senator Lindsey Graham's own likely White House bid.
"Graham would say ISIS exists because of people like Rand Paul who said, 'Let's not go into Syria.' What do you say to Lindsey?" said Scarborough.
The latest craze in the presidential campaign is to ask the contenders (on the Republican side) whether they would have invaded Iraq if you knew what you know now. The answer is supposed to be obvious. Jeb Bush got himself into some trouble by answering the more important question, which is where the errors were made and how he would have corrected them. He is now backpedaling on the unforgivable error of having given too sophisticated an answer.
Oklahoma City Former Texas governor Rick Perry sounded off on the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State forces at a conference Thursday, saying President Obama has “lost the peace” in a critical part of the country. He also said Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for the current violent state of Iraq under ISIS.
In remarks today on Capitol Hill, Speaker of House John Boehner called for action in Iraq:
“On Iraq: It’s been a week now since ISIL fighters stormed Ramadi – the capital of Iraq’s largest province. Hundreds of innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been executed, dozens of U.S.-supplied tanks and military vehicles have been seized," said Boehner.
Republican senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said President Obama is "not providing the resources" to defeat the Islamic State in and that United States ought to send "a few thousand more" troops into Iraq to combat the terrorist group in that country.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said America should focus on the current challenges and problems faced in Iraq. Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, Walker responded to a question from Bob Schieffer about potential 2016 rival Jeb Bush's difficult time answering questions about the 2003 invasion of Iraq that his brother, George W. Bush, argued for as president. Another Republican candidate, Marco Rubio, has also said apparently conflicting things about the wisdom of the invasion.
A DoD News story, published on Defense.gov, claims that the "Strategy to Defeat ISIL is Working, Military Official Says."
The report reads, "The coalition and Iraqi security forces strategy to defeat and dismantle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist group is clear and on track, the chief of staff of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today."
The U.S. killed an ISIS leader, Abu Sayyaf, last night in Syria. And, U.S. forces, now have his wife, Umm Sayyaf, in custody. The news was released today by the White House's National Security Council.
For Jeb Bush and the issue of the Iraq War, the third time was the charm—but you wouldn’t know that from reading the headlines. Bush, the former Florida governor and brother of the president who took American troops into Iraq in 2003, had a difficult time explaining his position on the war this week, first in an interview with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly and later with radio host and Fox News personality Sean Hannity.