June 17, 2016

"After weeks of fighting, Iraqi forces entered central areas of Falluja on Friday, facing little resistance by the Islamic State...."

"The rapid, and unexpected, gains suggested a shift in tactics by the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, or perhaps a sign of their weakness, as they abandoned their dug-in positions and regrouped in western neighborhoods. That allowed thousands of civilians, which aid groups had said were being held as human shields, to flee across two bridges over the Euphrates River beginning on Thursday.... Tens of thousands of civilians have now fled Falluja since an offensive began late last month, and most have reached bare-bones camps that are running low on supplies.... The latest exodus of civilians has not only added to the grave humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding for weeks in Anbar Province, but it has also presented a serious security challenge to the Iraqi government’s ability to carry out security screenings of civilians so Islamic State militants are not able to escape by blending in with civilians.... But with so many people fleeing in recent days, the ability of the security forces to carry out adequate screening has been strained, raising concerns that militants are also escaping amid the flow of the civilian population...."

I added boldface to that text, which I selected from a NYT article titled "Iraqi Forces Enter Falluja, Encountering Little Fight From ISIS."

40 comments:

Big Mike said...

But with so many people fleeing in recent days, the ability of the security forces to carry out adequate screening has been strained, raising concerns that militants are also escaping amid the flow of the civilian population....

Probably can't be helped.

buwaya puti said...

Good catch.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"militants are also escaping amid the flow of the civilian population"

Good thing we don't have to worry about that with the refugees coming to the U.S.

mockturtle said...

This sounds all too familiar.

exhelodrvr1 said...

They are not stupid - they have adapted, and are avoiding pitched battles when they aren't confident in victory. Which is why it was SO IMPORTANT to take advantage of their inexperience in the early years, and why the blame falls squarely on Obama's shoulders.

amielalune said...


Interesting. Now we're suddenly going to get all kinds of war reporting. I'm sure the majority from the NYT will be about how well it's going for us.

Unknown said...

Why highlight the obvious. The Iraqi army with help from the US and Iran are fighting to get some of their towns back from IS. They do not want IS in their country. There is a religious war going on between Sunni and Shia Muslims ie. muslims killing muslims.

There is awful bad shit going on with IS literally committing genocide (confirmed by the UN this week) ie. muslims killing muslims, christians and others.

IS are being smoked out and yes, many IS will escape through the net but at least Iraq with support from the US are making progress.

You really should not forget that this is a religious war between two sects of Islam. Unfortunately, the West are continually dragged into the conflict with horrific collateral damage.

mockturtle said...

The West is more than collateral. We are the perceived enemy of Islam and all infidels deserve to die.

FullMoon said...

Tens of thousands of civilians have now fled Falluja since an offensive began late last month, and most have reached bare-bones camps that are running low on supplies....
We read this and gloss over it. Imagine it happening in your area...these people are abandoning their homes, their neighborhoods, places they have lived for decades, to go live in a tent somewhere. Normal people, like you and me. Sickening, really.

khesanh0802 said...

In asymmetric warfare the enemy does not hang around when he is outgunned; he retreats to fight another day. Telegraphing our every move ensures that ISIS will have figured out the best way to avoid calamity and set up for the next round of infiltration and terror. Apparently many in the military learned very little from General Giap - we know no one in the administration did. Taking back territory is a good thing reducing ISIS' footprint, but it is more of a "feel good" than a victory. The only way to "win" is to destroy ISIS at its head. You know, bomb Hai Phong harbor and invade Hanoi - like we did in the 60's!

geoffb said...

In the US invasion of Iraq much of the Iraqi military became civilians who blended in with all the others. This was a deliberate and planned strategy worked out by the Soviet trained Iraqi military leadership. Some, at least, of that leadership became AQI which spawned ISIS.

It would seem the same strategy is being used again.

rhhardin said...

And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

TreeJoe said...

Wait wait wait....you mean a broadcasted build-up by multiple well supported nations to retake a town smaller, less well supplied enemy resulted in said enemy deciding that the town was not worth keeping and to use this to their advantage in other ways?

I have my shocked face on.

I truly don't understand the news reports. This isn't Nazi Germany we're fighting people - they don't care about holding front line territory in the same way. They are amorphous. Winning the town in the first place was their victory, holding it is not.

When you tell them you are going to attack their position, they have much less of an interest in holding that position unless it is of great strategic importance.

Why? Because ISIS ISN"T fighting a war of public opinion.

Roy Lofquist said...

It's called guerrilla warfare. Like most innovations in the modern world it was "made in USA".

"Francis 'The Swamp Fox' Marion is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare and maneuver warfare"

William said...

The Mongols in their conquest of Persia and the Baghdad Caliphate used refugees as a weapon of war. They killed all the inhabitants of Baghdad. The occupants of the neighboring regions fled to Damascus. Those refugees put a great strain on the resources and food supplies of Damascus. The good citizens of Damascus and their religious leaders determined that there was nothing in the Koran that prohibited paying tribute to and being ruled by Mongol imperialists. And so it happened that the Mongols conquered Mesopotamia. The Mongol imperialists themslves eventually converted to Islam, and the societies they conquered became far more militarized so there were enduring changes in both the conquerors and the conquered......History has many useful lessons. Do we want to learn from the Mongols or be instructed by them?

William said...

The Mongols were eventually defeated by the army of castrated Balkan slaves that the Egyptians used. So take heart. The liberals may yet be able to defeat ISIS. More castrati less Crusaders is the way to go.

mikee said...

Considering that when the US took Fallujah, every peaceful local was thumb printed and documented before being allowed back into town, identification of legit locals versus suspects houldn't be too darn hard - if the Iraqis kept the thumbprint scanner/readers, which is an interesting question, and didn't lose them when Fallujah fell to ISIS.

Also considering the rapid retreat, it appears the ISIS leadership is more intent on conservation of forces than allowing its members to meet their reward in the afterlife. In other words, killing them them ceaselessly will work in breaking their will to fight.

TreeJoe said...

It's not really a retreat when you capture something easily that is not of critical strategic value, are faced with an enemy that considers it extremely important to take back and builds up accordingly. It means ISIS enemies forces are concentrated in one spot, and other targets are now more ready to attack.

libertasandlatte said...

"if the Iraqis kept the thumbprint scanner/readers.........."

Nope. They couldn't even keep their weapons and vehicles in their headlong rush out of Fallujah

buwaya said...

"It's called guerrilla warfare. Like most innovations in the modern world it was "made in USA". "

It was made thousands of years ago. One of the most influential exponents of it in organized military practice was Gonzalo de Cordoba (El Gran Capitan) who conquered half of Italy from the French mainly through irregular warfare - and he invented disciplined European firepower tactics to boot, for when this wouldn't do; the French thought it was all dirty pool.

Its a lesson that gets rediscovered every so often. Even in European warfare of the 18th century it was SOP. The British were just particularly backward in this. The Austrians, Russians and Prussians would have known just what to do, and they had just the fellows to do it with.

buwaya said...

"The Mongols were eventually defeated by the army of castrated Balkan slaves that the Egyptians used"

The Mamelukes weren't castrated.

mockturtle said...

@TreeJoe they don't care about holding front line territory in the same way.

Right. They don't care about land. They're after the hearts and minds of the umma. And others misguided enough to enlist.

AReasonableMan said...

exhelodrvr1 said...
Which is why it was SO IMPORTANT to take advantage of their inexperience in the early years, and why the blame falls squarely on Obama's shoulders.


This would make sense if wasn't for the fact that ISIS in Iraq is primarily run by the remnants of the previous Sunni dominated Iraqi army, that was so thoughtlessly scattered by Bush. As ISIS showed time and time again, they were the superior fighting force from the beginning, at least in comparison to the current, hapless Iraqi army.

exhelodrvr1 said...

ARM,
In the early stages of this ISIS phase of the conflict, they tended to be out in the open, and we rarely took advantage of that. And we will be paying for that for years.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Fallujah? Wasn't that in the news about 10 years ago? Something about driving out fanatical Muzzie insurgents....

AReasonableMan said...

exhelodrvr1 said...
In the early stages of this ISIS phase of the conflict, they tended to be out in the open, and we rarely took advantage of that.


Not our job. Their dumbass prime minister, installed by Bush, wanted us out of there as did the majority of US voters.

Michael K said...

Their dumbass prime minister, installed by Bush, wanted us out of there as did the majority of US voters.

They call it "elected." The Iraqis were negotiating and would have settled on the SOF we wanted but Obama, the Muslim came along.

Now, we have the worst of all possible worlds.

Rusty said...

Their dumbass prime minister, installed by Bush,
They held three election. Any one of which was more honest than anything you'll get in this country.

libertasandlatte said...

"The Iraqis were negotiating and would have settled on the SOF we wanted but Obama, the Muslim came along."

That's a mighty optimistic view that discounts the opposition within the CoR, to a continued US presence, especially by the Sadarist Bloc. It also seems to be the only argument proffered by the "it was Obama's fault" contingent.

Michael K said...

" It also seems to be the only argument proffered by the "it was Obama's fault" contingent."

Well, I suppose you could postulate magic.

The State Department has a few officers who don't agree with your Obama worship.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I'm not the one proffering a relatively baseless hypothetical, but given your reliance on a pejorative, I rather doubt you have any interest in the matter outside of your own narrative. Reasonable disagreement equaling the political opposition is lazy discourse. Further, your link had zero relation to the subject matter.

- CI

Michael K said...

"Reasonable disagreement equaling the political opposition is lazy discourse. "

"It also seems to be the only argument proffered by the "it was Obama's fault" contingent."

Yes, I agree. Your comment was "lazy discourse."

Unknown said...

Great rebuttal. No really, you should be proud of yourself.

- CI

Rusty said...

If the Bush war in Iraq was immoral and illegal, what is the Obama war in Iraq?
Comrade Bob can sit on his hands for this one.

Michael K said...

Unknown is much easier than actually, identifying yourself. You could be anybody. Leftist,of course. but anybody. Inga, shiloh, Ritmo. Anybody.

Unknown said...

Where exactly do you get leftist? Really, I'd like to know. How does your brain operate, when it translates a disagreement on Iraqi intransigence and domestic politics into a political opposition? In doing so, how can you possibly be any better than a leftist yourself. Conservatives rely on facts, reason and a level of mature discourse, leftist's rely on appeals to emotion. Too bad you fell short in those regards.

- CI

Michael K said...

"Too bad you fell short in those regards."

Too bad you fell short in identifying who the fuck you are. That is the ultimate lack of authenticity.

Curious George said...

"But with so many people fleeing in recent days, the ability of the security forces to carry out adequate screening has been strained, raising concerns that militants are also escaping amid the flow of the civilian population...."

C'mon this isn't that hard. Just detain anyone with a Lakers jersey.

Unknown said...

Who the fuck I am is fairly irrelevant to the subject matter that you un-deftly dodged. The domain I'm posting from isn't allowing me to login to BlogSpot, so, to assuage your tender feelings.......https://libertasandlatte.wordpress.com/

- CI