Iraq Begins Fight to Retake What ISIS Grabbed

New operation begins in Anbar province
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2015 7:06 AM CDT
Iraq Begins Fight to Retake What ISIS Grabbed
In this May 14, 2015 file photo, security forces defend their headquarters against attacks by Islamic State extremists during a sand storm in the eastern part of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Details remain scarce, but Iraq today announced that it has started a military operation aimed at pushing ISIS out of Anbar province, home to the provincial capital of Ramadi—which ISIS seized less than two weeks ago even as coalition airstrikes rained down around them. In high-profile comments Sunday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter painted Ramadi's fall as more a reflection of Iraqi weakness than ISIS' strength, saying "the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight." As for the new fight, Iraq's troops will receive support from Shiite and Sunni paramilitary forces.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, takes a look at whether Carter placed the blame at the correct feet, and finds that it wasn't just an absence of will that gave ISIS an opening. It paints a picture of ISIS' growing sophistication, referencing a "complex battle plan" and its silencing of social media this month as a way to maintain "operational security" as it went after Ramadi. And then there are the Vbieds, or "vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices." The Journal reports ISIS has taken US military armored vehicles and rehabbed them into "megabombs with payloads equal to the force of the Oklahoma City bombing." The militants employed more than two dozen of them during their three-day Ramadi surge. (Read more Iraq stories.)

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