Iraqi forces are battling hard in Anbar province:
The operation is under way to recapture Fallujah and Ramadi, a senior defense official at the Pentagon confirmed to Fox News Monday. The efforts are supported by Shiite militias, known as Popular Mobilization Units, from Iran and its proxy Hezbollah.
Photos of Iran’s Quds force Commander Qasem Soleimani visiting Shia militia units inside Iraq have appeared on social media since ISIS took over large portions of Iraq a year ago.
The defense official was unaware of any U.S. air support boosting the operation. It has been longstanding Pentagon policy to support only units aligned with the government of Iraq, but the line can be blurred as the chain of command for units operating in Iraq is not always known.
The kink is in the story’s lede, that the Iraqi troops are “supported by Shiite militias from Iran.”
I’m thinking now of the tragedy of the Second Battle of Fallujah, fought towards the end of 2004. Over 13,000 coalition forces — mostly US Marines, backed up by Iraqi security forces and the Brits, lost 107 killed and 613 wounded retaking the city from Iranian-backed insurgents.
Here’s what retired US Army intelligence officer and author Ralph Peters had to say about it:
Let’s be honest: The terrorists won First Fallujah. And for six months thereafter Fallujah was the world capital of terror–a terrorist city-state. It was evident to all of us who had served that we’d have to go back into Fallujah, but the administration–which I support–made the further error of waiting until after the presidential election to avoid casualties or embarrassments during the campaign. Well, fortunately, in the Second Battle of Fallujah the Army and Marines realized they had to do it fast, before the media won again and the politicians caved in again. The military had been burned once and they were determined not to get burned again. And they did a stunning job–Second Fallujah was a model of how to take down a medium-size city. Great credit to the troops, mixed reviews for the politicos.
Something akin to peace took hold in Fallujah — until President Obama threw it all away in 2011.
The tragedy of Second Fallujah is that the price paid in blood by our Marines, by British troops, and by the Iraqis themselves was all for naught. Here we are nearly 11 years later, and the Iranians seem poised to hold the city again — more directly this time, rather than entirely by proxy.
Our Marines and our allies were betrayed by the man sitting in the Oval Office, while his Secretary of State continues negotiating in good faith with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.