In a major shift of strategy in Iraq, the Obama administration is planning to establish a new military base in Anbar Province and send hundreds of additional American military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi and repel the Islamic State. – Michael Gordon [New York Times]
LAST NIGHT on MSNBC, Steve Clemons asked the million dollar question: Where are the Saudis and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)? This latest news is about the Sunnis and building confidence, according to Clemons. Watching this the issue becomes “Americanizing” the problem and thinking it will solve things, which is basically folly, though that’s my word for it, which is apt.
The politics of ISIS in Iraq are terrifying: Doing nothing and worrying about getting hit by ISIS or having Iraq turn into their operating territory, because nobody else is doing anything, including the Iraqis. George W. Bush got us into this, but Barack Obama has no intention of being remembered for having Iraq turn into an Islamic state.
The fall of Ramadi was the tipping point, according to Michael Gordon’s reporting.
But to the frustration of critics like Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, who say that United States is losing the initiative to the Islamic State militant group, the Obama administration has not approved the use of American spotters on the battlefield to call in airstrikes. Nor has it approved the use of select American Special Operations forces or Apache helicopter gunships to help Iraqi troops retake Ramadi.
The news of advisers won’t come close to pacifying Senator John McCain, but his pal Lindsay Graham will use it as fodder for his presidential campaign to prove he’s the only one who knows the topic.
Wonder if Jeb Bush will find a coherent thing to say this time around about Iraq? Now tripping his way through Europe before his announcement that he’s an actual candidate, he decided to put Putin up front, sounding dazed and confused along the way by describing the Russian president as a “ruthless pragmatist.”
Republicans and foreign policy, what used to be their strong suit now just makes them all look like amateurs trying to sound strong through talking points, without any foundational knowledge as guide.
The growing strength of ISIS is no doubt on the minds of team Clinton, with foreign policy an area few Republicans running in 2016 can counter effectively, minus Lindsay Graham, though he’ll undoubtedly be busy filling out his “roving first lady list.”