Ramadi’s fall has positioned Iran for a big score

Interesting times.

Refugees from a fallen Ramadi clog the roadways outside Baghdad in May 2015. (Image: Corbis vis Newsweek)
Refugees from a fallen Ramadi clog the roadways outside Baghdad in May 2015. (Image: Corbis via Newsweek)

If you listen to the mainstream media, you probably think mainly that a superior force of Iraqi national troops abandoned the city of Ramadi to Islamic State 10 days ago – by implication, doing so in spite of U.S. support to the Iraqis and the battle.

As Americans were wondering “What happened?” over the past week, words uttered by Ashton Carter, the U.S. secretary of defense, came to seem like the answer.  His signature comment was to the effect that the Iraqis were unwilling to fight.

As a cherry on top, I heard (Tuesday evening) a news anchor on the local ABC affiliate chirp out the theory that Carter’s harsh assessment “may have prompted” the Iraqi government to mount its impending operation to retake Ramadi.  The implication is that the Iraqis had to be goaded into it.  Local affiliates don’t make up foreign-affairs news narratives on their own; this was undoubtedly fed to them by the staff at ABC headquarters. Continue reading “Ramadi’s fall has positioned Iran for a big score”

Euphrates corridor: Jihadis, and territorial gains, metastasizing

Emerging war of position.

There’s always a risk in putting data points out there without having prepared the way for them, by starting with a comprehensive analytical piece.  (Well, technically, I did the fundamental analysis back in 2009, when I posted the “Next Phase of World War IV” series, whose theses have been borne out by the Arab Spring and other developments since.)

That said, I am trusting readers to understand that what we have here is an emerging trend, whose course is not set in stone, but whose potential impact is very far-reaching.  The basic element of the trend is Sunni jihadis gaining control of territory in the Middle East, as they are currently doing in Iraq and Syria. Continue reading “Euphrates corridor: Jihadis, and territorial gains, metastasizing”