Islamic militants controlling a mainly Sunni area west of Baghdad are so well-armed that they could occupy the capital, a top Iraqi official warned Monday, a frank and bleak assessment of the challenge posed in routing the insurgents as a new wave of bombings killed at least 31 people.
Since late December, members of Iraq’s al-Qaida branch — known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — have taken over parts of Ramadi, the capital of the largely Sunni western province of Anbar. They also control the center of the nearby city of Fallujah, along with other non-al-Qaida militants who also oppose the Shiite-led government.
Iraqi government forces backed by Sunni tribal militias launched an all-out offensive Sunday to seize back control of Ramadi and surrounding areas from the militants. Five government-allied tribesmen were killed in the initial fighting, and 15 tribesmen and government forces were wounded, provincial spokesman Dhari al-Rishawi said.
Fierce clashes continued Monday, with government forces and allied tribesmen struggling to advance in the face of tough resistance, according to local police.
The last time anybody took Baghdad, it was us. Never you fear — we’ve been assured by Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom that the current al Qaeda is strictly “jayvee.”
If it weren’t scary enough that the Professor himself is no longer taking AQ seriously, it’s scarier still that there seems to be nobody in the White House to contradict him:
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian. [Emphasis added]
Al Qaeda wasn’t dangerous to us until they found themselves a friendly government in Afghanistan. Now they’re working on getting friendly governments (or at least the mostly-benign neglect of anarchy) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
That’s how the junior varsity moves on to earn its letters.