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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Iraqi forces surround Fallujah, continue efforts to push ISIS from Anbar Province.

Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have surrounded ISIS elements in Fallujah, taking the northern suburbs and clearing ISIS from the Baghdad area.   ISF have also punished ISIS forces further, retaking territory around Hit and giving some relief to hard-pressed Habaniyah.  Over the past few months, Iraqi forces, aided by elements of the Popular Mobilization Units (Iranian supported Shi'a militia) and air support from coalition forces, have broken the back of ISIS in Anbar Province and central Iraq.  In order to put pressure on the Iraqi government and hopefully encourage the recall of Iraqi troops to the capital, ISIS stepped up suicide bomb attacks against Shi'a targets, inflicting large number of fatalities and injuries.  Shi'a leaders did put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, but Abadi has managed to keep control of the government and focus on the efforts to remove ISIS from Iraq altogether.  If the military situation doesn't improve for ISIS, the terrorist organization will have to reconsider its intentions in Iraq.  No doubt Fallujah will fall, and as the ISF continues to retake territory once occupied by ISIS, it will become impossible for ISIS to not only continue suicide and vehicular explosive attacks, but to keep its units supplied and reinforced.

With the encouraging advances the ISF has made in Samarra and Baiji, and the advances made by the Kurds in the north, ISIS will be hard-pressed to regain the initiative on any of the Iraqi fronts.  Mosul is also in the sights of the ISF, with word that except for a small contingent of die-hard operatives, ISIS has basically already abandoned the city.  That remains to be seen, but there can ge no doubt that the ISF appears to be in the last stages of defeating ISIS in Iraq.  This development has already started to impact the political environment in Baghdad.  For some time, Shi'a politicians and religious leaders have been engaging in efforts to discredit and destabilize the Ababi Administration.  No doubt Iran, who continues to interfere in internal Iraqi affairs, has been behind the effort to see Abadi replaced.  The dynamics of this situation can be very confusing to anyone who has not been following Iraqi politics. losels.  When Abadi took office as Iraq's second Shi'a Prime Minister, the Sunni community was convinced that we would act in Iran's interest foremost, and the Sunni community would suffer.  In fact, Abadi has not taken one side over the other.  He has proven to be a true statesman and leader, and he truly deserves tremendous credit for the optimistic military situation.

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