May 23, 2016

THIRD BATTLE OF FALLUJAH: Shiite militias allied with the government seize two districts on the city’s outskirts, commander says.

Iraqi forces backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led international coalition pounded Fallujah from the ground and the air Monday, marking the start of a bid to retake one of Islamic State’s last major urban strongholds in the country.

Iraq’s army and counterterrorism forces, police, tribal fighters and the Popular Mobilization Forces joined in the assault, the military’s Joint Operations Command said.

Fallujah, about 40 miles west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, has been held by Islamic State since the Sunni Muslim extremist group captured it in early 2014.

The tragedy is that this city — hard won by Coalition forces led by US Marines in 2004 — was largely at peace before President Obama abandoned Iraq in 2011. Three years later, Obama dismissed ISIS as the “jayvee” days after the group had taken Fallujah. The people there have suffered under ISIS rule since, and now find themselves once again in the middle of a war zone.

This morning, the Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt wrote that “it does not require hindsight to appreciate the recklessness of his decision” to leave Iraq.

Hindsight is preferable to remaining blind, I suppose.

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