Obama’s battle against ISIS is failing By Danielle Pletka Updated 12:26 PM ET, Wed September 2, 2015

Smoke rises above a damaged building following a U.S.-led coalition airstrike against ISIS positions during a military operation to regain control of the eastern suburbs of Ramadi, Iraq, on Saturday, August 15.

Smoke rises over Ramadi after coalition airstrikes fail to uproot ISIS insurgents.

In light of the spiraling disasters throughout the Middle East and North Africa, no one-size-fits-all approach can work against ISIS.

(CNN)It’s been a year since Steven Sotloff was brutally murdered. The images, which have become all too commonplace, shocked the American public — and consequently, the American President — into responding to the horror that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has wrought in the Middle East. But countless decapitations, and hundreds of thousands of less infamous (but no less vile) predations later, ISIS continues to flourish.

The United States has no strategy against the terrorist group, and the tactics being pursued by the Obama administration are failing.

In early July, the President took to the airwaves to announce that things were going, well, OK, in the battle against ISIS. “As with any military effort, there will be periods of progress,” he began hopefully, “but there are also going to be some setbacks — as we’ve seen with ISIL’s gains in Ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria.”

Danielle Pletka

Yes, Mr. Obama there have been setbacks. And those are not the worst of them.

Why ISIS wants to erase Palmyra's history

Why ISIS wants to erase Palmyra’s history

ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant and as Daesh, a variant of the Arabic acronym for ISIS, has taken Mosul and Ramadi in Iraq, has taken Palmyra in southern Syria and is spreading through Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Algeria and beyond.

Obama administration officials insist that ISIS is not 10 feet tall and has its own troubles. Senior leaders have been picked off by drones, and the group is at daggers drawn with al Qaeda. All true. But ISIS continues to attract foreign fighters, and intelligence officials admit that despite upwards of 10,000 deaths, the group’s strength is estimated at 20,000 to 30,000, virtually unchanged from when the United States began more intensive operations in 2013.

Retired Gen. John Allen, the Obama administration’s special envoy, insists that ISIS is losing. In an existential sense, he’s right. ISIS isn’t going to run Iraq or Yemen or Syria anytime soon. But it is running statelets in Iraq and Syria and is putting in place the accouterments of the state it claims to be.

Worse yet, what the administration claims to be good news — the intensified engagement of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the fight — is far from uniformly positive. Both Riyadh and Ankara have been supporting groups that include al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra. And the Turks, who have finally woken up to the danger to their own security from ISIS, are more interested in using the new U.S.-Turkish partnership to attack Kurdish groups gaining ground in Syria. In other words, in subcontracting national security policy to others, we have found — surprise — that they do not share our views about the enemy.

In Iraq, ISIS continues to hold substantial and important territory, and notwithstanding efforts by the al-Abadi government in Baghdad, insufficient progress has been made in reconciling the Sunni and Shia factions whose fighting has allowed ISIS to flourish.

Nor, notwithstanding the bizarre partnership between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Obama White House in Iraq, have Shiite militias “advised” by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and occasionally backed by U.S. air power been able to beat back ISIS in a meaningful way.

In Yemen, the story is much the same.

The country’s slow-motion collapse, while less in the headlines than Syria, has pitted the Saudis and their proxies against Iran and its proxies, with the most notable result being benefits for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS’ Yemen branch.

Libya, too, is divided between the genuine and more moderate government now holed up in Tobruk, an Islamist government in Tripoli and ISIS and other al Qaeda-related groups growing steadily in the void.

In light of the spiraling disasters throughout the Middle East and North Africa, no one-size-fits-all approach can work. Clearly, intensified effort is needed to help the Iraqi military and to reengage Iraq’s Sunni — likely more military assistance, more aid and deeper engagement by the United States. In Syria, the training that has generated just 60 U.S.-taught members of the Free Syrian Army must ramp up dramatically.

But that’s far from enough; fashioning a transitional government acceptable to the United States and the Syrian people should have already begun. Indeed, each country demands its own separate strategy, but there is one common element: Washington cannot drop in when bad news hits the front pages, as it did when Steven Sotloff, James Foley and Peter Kassig met their grisly ends.

It is tempting to believe that the countries of the region can rise to meet their own challenges, but there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the notion. And while some continue to insist that the nightmare that has driven 11 million people from their homes is somehow not America’s problem, the reality of ISIS’ (and al Qaeda’s) growth and spread and continued strength means that these terrorists will be on our doorstep sooner rather than later.

 

US army demands Shia militia leave Ramadi

US soldiers in IraqTuesday, 01 September 2015 13:54- File photo of US soldiers in Iraq

US forces in Iraq yesterday demanded the Shia Popular Mobilisation Crowd to leave the Sunni dominated city of Ramadi in the Anbar province.

An officer in the Anbar Police Command Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Sattar Halbusi said US forces stationed in Habbaniyah airbase, 25 kilometres east of Ramadi, issued a warning to the popular crowd militia to leave the strait east of Ramadi within 24 hours.

Halbusi told the Anadolu Agency that the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades refused to leave the area.

He revealed that American advisers and military commanders reject the popular crowd’s presence in Ramadi for fear of sectarian violence against the city’s Sunni residents.

The US insists the Iraqi government withdraw allied popular crowd militias from Sunni areas recaptured from Daesh.

Prepare for the Battle of Baghdad: ISIS hold victory parade after taking key city of Ramadi just 60 miles from capital in an orgy of violence and beheadings | Daily Mail Online

I guess our bombers missed this???

ISIS militants have held a twisted victory parade after taking the key city of Ramadi in an orgy of violence and beheadings – and the extremists could march on the Iraqi capital Baghdad within the next month.

Mutilated bodies scatter the streets of the ‘Gateway of Baghdad’, where Islamic State slaughtered around 500 and forced nearly 25,000 to flee their homes over the last few days.

Now ISIS has released images of militants celebrating, children wielding automatic weapons and a fleet of pick-up trucks carrying its jubilant fighters through the blood-stained streets of Ramadi.

Shi’ite fighters have already launched a counter-offensive to recapture the city, but these kinds of tactics play straight into Islamic State’s grand plan to spark all-out war in the region, according to the Middle East director of counter-terrorism think-tank RUSI.

Islamic State militants are already marching east towards the Habbaniya army base – around 20 miles east of Ramadi – where a column of 3,000 Shi’ite paramilitaries are amassing, witnesses and a military officer has said.

And if ISIS manage to reach Baghdad, it would be ‘utter carnage’, Professor Gareth Stansfield told MailOnline.

Show of strength: ISIS flags line the streets of Ramadi as a procession of militants - riding on the backs of Toyota Land Cruisers - parade through the city

Surrounded: ISIS already has control of Fallujah which is on Baghdad's doorstep and has now conquered the strategically-important city of Ramadi further west

Parade: After slaughtering 500 people and forcing over 8,000 from their homes in Ramadi (pictured), ISIS triumphantly drive through the city in a fleet of pick-up trucks

Sick: One twisted image released through Islamic State's social media channels shows a small child carrying what appears to be a mortar shell in Ramadi -  after their victory in the city

Insurgency: The city where ISIS militants fired rocket propelled grenades contains sacred Shi'ite shrines which - if destroyed - would force the militia to take on ISIS head on, experts have said

Innocence lost: ISIS has released pictures showing its militants - and young followers (pictured) - celebrating the capture of Ramadi as Shi'ite militias prepare a counter-offensive to retake the city

 He said: ‘If ISIS turn up in great numbers in Baghdad, it will be an absolute slaughter between Sunni’s and Shia’s there.

‘They [ISIS] are now having so many successes, and moving so quickly, that Baghdad is under very real threat from ISIS forces outside Baghdad and also the ISIS terror cells inside Baghdad as well.