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ISIS Advancing Towards Baghdad

Though there has been a sustained US-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria for weeks, the militant group is still progressing towards Baghdad. ISIS has steadily expanded its power in Sunni-dominated Anbar province where it is now estimated to control 80% of the territory and has overrun forces loyal to Baghdad consistently.

Anbar province played a key role in the dynamics of the US occupation of Iraq both in being the center of the insurgency and later in the so-called Anbar Awakening when US forces were able to cut a deal with leaders in the province to abate some of the fighting. The deal involved paying tribal leaders lots of money and promising them participation in a national government. The money stopped and the US-backed Maliki government purged Sunnis from power.

Now ISIS is the de facto ruler of Anbar province and has no apparent interest in cutting a deal as it marches towards Baghdad.

The terror group came within 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of the Baghdad airport, according to the leader of U.S. military efforts to fight ISIS in Iraq. The United States brought in low-flying attack helicopters to keep ISIS at bay, Gen. Martin Dempsey told ABC on Sunday. “You’re not going to wait until they’re climbing over the wall,” Dempsey said. “Had (ISIS forces) overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the Baghdad airport.”

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is moving — fast. The group, which calls itself the Islamic State, controls about 80% of the province, according to Sabah Al-Karhout, president of Anbar Provincial Council.

Not surprisingly, what remains of the Iraqi national government in Anbar is asking for US ground troops – something the Obama Administration has repeatedly promised will not happen. Given ISIS’ support among the Sunni population it’s not clear US ground troops could be as effective as Iraqi officials seem to hope they would be.

ISIS is not just making progress militarily, it is also believed to be behind a number of car bombs in Baghdad and elsewhere that are sowing fear within the national government. Iraqi soldiers are now saying that they want the US ground forces to lead the fight against ISIS or they will quit. So after spending hundreds of billions of dollars to train and equip the Iraqi national army the only thing they can do is call for help.

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ISIS Advancing Towards Baghdad

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Though there has been a sustained US-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria for weeks, the militant group is still progressing towards Baghdad. ISIS has steadily expanded its power in Sunni-dominated Anbar province where it is now estimated to control 80% of the territory and has overrun forces loyal to Baghdad consistently.

Anbar province played a key role in the dynamics of the US occupation of Iraq both in being the center of the insurgency and later in the so-called Anbar Awakening when US forces were able to cut a deal with leaders in the province to abate some of the fighting. The deal involved paying tribal leaders lots of money and promising them participation in a national government. The money stopped and the US-backed Maliki government purged Sunnis from power.

Now ISIS is the de facto ruler of Anbar province and has no apparent interest in cutting a deal as it marches towards Baghdad.

The terror group came within 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of the Baghdad airport, according to the leader of U.S. military efforts to fight ISIS in Iraq. The United States brought in low-flying attack helicopters to keep ISIS at bay, Gen. Martin Dempsey told ABC on Sunday. “You’re not going to wait until they’re climbing over the wall,” Dempsey said. “Had (ISIS forces) overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the Baghdad airport.”

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is moving — fast. The group, which calls itself the Islamic State, controls about 80% of the province, according to Sabah Al-Karhout, president of Anbar Provincial Council.

Not surprisingly, what remains of the Iraqi national government in Anbar is asking for US ground troops – something the Obama Administration has repeatedly promised will not happen. Given ISIS’ support among the Sunni population it’s not clear US ground troops could be as effective as Iraqi officials seem to hope they would be.

ISIS is not just making progress militarily, it is also believed to be behind a number of car bombs in Baghdad and elsewhere that are sowing fear within the national government. Iraqi soldiers are now saying that they want the US ground forces to lead the fight against ISIS or they will quit. So after spending hundreds of billions of dollars to train and equip the Iraqi national army the only thing they can do is call for help.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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