Alwaght- Supervised by the Americans, the Iraqi combat forces have launched, on last Tuesday morning, the last phase of an operation to liberate the center of al-Anbar, Iraq’s largest province, managing very soon to reach the city of Ramadi’s center. The outcoming reports as well as the field developments indicate that ISIS terror group would certainly be defeated. It captured the Iraqi province almost eight months ago.
Losing Ramadi is considered to be the second heaviest blow dealt to ISIS after the terror group received a defeat earlier in Tikrit. Ramadi is located near Euphrates River and it accommodates a dam from which a remarkable portion of southern Iraq’s fresh water is provided. The city is also seen an important supply line stretching from Baghdad to Syria and Jordan and cutting it off represents a big blow to ISIS’s activities in both Iraq and Syria.
The news of recapturing of al-Anbar province’s center has been as surprising as its fall to the terrorists. In mid-May 2015, the Iraqi army’s Special Forces have retreated from Ramadi’s defense line without a specified reason, and while the Americans were watching the situation, the city fell to the ISIS group’s militants in a matter of minutes. About 500 of the Iraqi military forces and the civilians were killed the same day the city fell.
The inquiries about why that day the Iraqi forces left their posts in Ramadi have never come out with correct results, and the actors, just against the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s pledge, were never sent to court. Some media reported that a retreat order had been given to the Iraq army’s forces from the top authorities, however, some other sources suggested that on the same day the US fighter jets had not bombed the ISIS’s convoys, an issue intimidating the Iraqi forces and immediately sending them collapsed. Later, the Americans claimed that on that day the weather was stormy and it was impossible for the US fighters to carry out airstrikes in support of the Iraqi forces.
This Americans’ justification is coming while some reports suggest that they had already been aware of such ISIS’s offensive of Ramadi. On May 28, 2015, the US-based Blomberg.com in a report has quoted the US sources and intelligence officials, who had spoken on condition of anonymity, as saying that they had had considerable information about the ISIS’s upcoming assault on Ramadi.
It seems that the US has accepted to grant Ramadi to ISIS even at the expense of losing its remaining scanty credit. Following Ramadi’s fall, the distrust of the US has grown even among Iraq’s Sunnis. Noting that the distrust of the US was noticeable in the city of Habbaniyah, the Washington Post’s reporter in al-Anbar province in a report in late May has quoted Falih al-Isawee, the deputy head of al-Anbar local government’s council, as saying that “I was the top ally of the United States in al-Anbar but Obama is a liar because he said that Ramadi would not fall.” “al-Anbar had two options for alliance: Iran or the US and we chose the US which was the powerful country but we were wrong”, continued al-Isawee.
The US bloody game with ISIS in Ramadi to achieve its goals was cautioned against by Major General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Quds Force in the Iranian Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC). He in his rare public comment has accused the US of “complicity in the conspiracy”. “Mr. Obama, how is it possible that a massacre takes place in the country while your military bases are only a few kilometers away from Ramadi. You came to the country at the excuse of supporting the people but you did nothing. What is this called? , said General Soleimani, addressing the US President.
The US involvement in the fall of Ramadi was so obvious and undeniable that it has even drawn the US media’s questioning and inquiries. The BBC in an analysis has noted that the Americans had embarked on contradictory positions concerning confrontation of the ISIS group and on the one hand they bombed the group’s positions by performing thousands of sorties and on the other hand in the incident of the group’s attack on Ramadi, the Americans made no reactions while they seemingly were informed in advance of the plan.
The US attempts to push Public Mobilization Forces to the sidelines
It seems that the plans that the US is adopting in Ramadi are serving to obtain two main objectives. First, marginalizing the Public Mobilization Forces and the second is winning validity and struggling to monopolize the Mosul liberation operation. In addition, some believe that the Americans are seeking long-term objective through their actions and it is forming a Sunni state in western Iraq and eastern Syria by partitioning these two countries. This plan is dreamed of by Saudi Arabia more than any other country.
Why the US fears the Public Mobilization Forces?
In the present time the most important concern of Washington is not the terror group ISIS but the Iraqi Shiite forces which are majorly brought together under the title of Public Mobilization Forces and receive support from Iran, and some of them have officially sworn loyalty to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei as the time’s Vilayat-e-Faqih [or the Guardianship of the Jurist in English.] The Public Mobilization Forces have taken a major role in fight against ISIS’s militants and have managed to prove their viability in the battles of Amirli, Baiji and Tikrit and it is known as the most significant force countering the terrorist group on the ground in Iraq.
Just because these forces are performing in Iraq independently from Washington the American officials are viewing them as a threat to their interests in Iraq. They are pressing both the local Sunni tribes as well as the Iraqi central government over cooperation with the Public Mobilization Forces. Although Haidar al-Abadi, the Iraq Prime Minister, just two days following the fall of Ramadi in mid-May has ordered the popular forces to high alert to brace for recapture of al-Anbar province’s center, the Americans in association with their regional allies by an array of tricks, especially launching a propagandistic warfare, have tried to prevent the Public Mobilization Forces from taking the initiative in Ramadi recapture operation. When the Public Mobilization Forces were preparing to recapture Fallujah city in mid-July, a massive media propaganda war was launched by some Western and Arab media against these forces. Fallujah is located 50 kilometers away from Baghdad’s west and it is one of the crucial cities of al-Anbar and its retaking could have remarkable effect on al-Anbar’s battle. At that time, the Washington Post in a report noted that the Iranian-backed Shiite militants were making preparations to launch an operation to retake Fallujah, a Sunni Iraqi city. The newspaper has also quoted Isa al-Isawee, the head of Fallujah local council, as saying that if the Shiite militants were allowed to lead the operation of Fallujah city’s liberation, they could observe more destruction and bloodshed.
Michel Prigent, a former US intelligence officer, has recently claimed in an article that the Shiite forces were more under Iran’s control rather than being under the Iraqi central government’s control. On last Wednesday, he told Businessinsider.com that they would wear green headbands and they would have Ayatollah Khamenei’s images lying on their arms and they are deliberately sending a message to the Sunni population to tell them that so many things had changed and now they were in control.
Such massive news propagandas beside the US direct pressures on Iraq’s central government have caused PM Haidar al-Abadi to limit the role of the Public Mobilization Forces in Ramadi’s battle. Sending dozens of military advisers, the US has tried to take the initiative in the operation. Now that recapturing Ramadi has taken place, the US officials are trying to highlight their role and paint the Public Mobilization Forces’ role as marginal. Colonel Steven Warren, the spokesman for the US-led coalition, on Wednesday, December 23, in a video conference has answered a question by the American journalists about the presence of the Public Mobilization Forces. He said that no Shiite forces were taking part in Ramadi operation, this was a decision made by the Iraqi government. Being asked if the US government pressed Iraq’s government to make such a decision, Warren avoided answering.
It is predictable that the Americans would depict the Ramadi recapture operation as a proof for their success in order to reduce the wave of criticism and pave the way for repeating the success this time in Mosul province. The Politico.com, run by the US Democratic Party, in an analysis has attempted to describe recapturing Ramadi as an important breakthrough for the US and for Barack Obama personally. The news website in its analysis has quoted James Franklin Jeffrey, the US former ambassador to Iraq between 2010 and 2012 and the deputy national security adviser of the former US President George W. Bush, as saying that it was a “significant success” made without the Shiite militants and it showed that that model was useful and that they could have Sunni Arabs for battling.
However, contrary to the Americans’ claims about the Public Mobilization marginal role, the emerging reports suggest that these forces have played a significant role in Ramadi operation but due to the existing sensitivity they try to keep their role unseen. The Newsweek.com early this week has talked about massive presence of the Public Mobilization Forces in Ramadi operation while having on the Iraqi defense ministry as well as army’s uniforms. Such a move by the popular forces shows that they are well aware about the US intention and they could not leave part of their soil at the Americans' trust.
The US’ performance from the fall of Ramadi to its recapture notifies that Washington not only does not seek to destroy ISIS but also it uses the terrorist group’s militants to perform its puppet shows at the cost of killing of innocent people in the region’s different spots , including Ramadi.