Maybe an ominous turn of events in the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq — the crazy horde might secure Abu Ghraib, just outside Baghdad, and could place their captured US 155 mm howitzers within range of Baghdad International Airport.
A major-bad to close the airport.
From Mcclatchy: “These have a range of about (20 miles) and if they are able to hold territory in Abu Ghraib then the concern they can shell and ultimately close BIAP becomes a grave concern.”
The airport is a key lifeline for Western embassies and holds a joint operations center staffed by U.S. military advisers.
(Illustration: Ghassan Ghaib’s ‘My Shadow on Paper,’ found here; also other examples of the influence continuous war makes on Iraqi contemporary art).
The ground aspect of the Islamic state war appears at a nasty shift, and real-shit might hit the fan.
The biggest concern for Western military advisers was the report that Islamic State militants were moving freely in Abu Ghraib, which controls the western approaches to Baghdad from Anbar, Jordan and Syria.
Its loss would severely limit the Iraqi government’s ability to send reinforcements to a small number of bases in Anbar that remain in government control, including at Ramadi and Haditha as well as Asad air base, which lies north of Ramadi.
Already, Islamic State forces’ influence stretches from Fallujah through Abu Ghraib to Yusufiya, Baghdad’s westernmost suburb.
So far, the highway that links those locations remains in government hands, as does the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, where U.S. soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners in the early years of the Iraq War.
But while the government has dispatched more soldiers to reinforce its hold on the highway, the Islamic State’s control of the surrounding areas makes the government’s hold appear tenuous.
“If the Iraqis are unable to regain control of this area, this has the makings of a disaster,” said the Irbil-based coalition diplomat.
Iraq is a continuous-conflict, humanitarian disaster, and the entire Iraqi infrastructure is on the verge of a nightmarish melt-down — despite the terrible and frightful ineptness of the Iraqi army, President Obama’s head of anti-ISIS campaign, retired General John Allen, said this yesterday: “We must build Iraqi capacity to take on the fight. This is why the United States will not send combat troops to Iraq, but instead will continue our support for Iraqi security forces through military advisers training and capacity building.”
Famous, oft-blubbered words.
One of the better observers of American war shit, Andrew J. Bacevich, has a detailed op/ed in the Washington Post of the US war-whoring around in the Middle East, starting with Jimmy Carter in 1980 — the Syria ISIS bombing is the 14th country in the Islamic world since then that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed.
And all turned losers. Read the whole piece, but this seems key to nowadays:
Want to measure what America’s war for the Middle East has accomplished through its first 13 iterations?
The Islamic State has to rank prominently on any list of achievements.
If Iraq possessed minimally effective security forces, Islamic State militants wouldn’t have a chance.
But the Iraqi army we created won’t fight, in considerable measure because the Iraqi government we created doesn’t govern.
In a paraphrase, a phrase: ‘Boots on the ground. You keep using those words. I do not think it means what you think it means.’