Scenes from a Failing State

Iraqi Federal police covered in dust arrive to join the forces surrounding Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Clashes between Iraqi government forces and the Islamic State group outside the city of Fallujah briefly subsided on Tuesday, the second day of a large-scale military operation to drive militants out of their key stronghold west of Baghdad. (AP Photo/Rwa Faisal)

Max Boot reports on what’s left of Iraq.

Operation Save Haider al-Abadi has now begun in Iraq. No, that’s the not the official name of the offensive that Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias are now mounting to drive ISIS fighters out of Fallujah, but it might as well be.

The Iraqi prime minister teeters on the edge of total powerlessness. His impotence has been revealed by humiliations from both Shiites and Sunnis. In the past week, on the Sunni side, ISIS has carried out suicide bombings in Baghdad that have killed more than 200 people. On Friday, on the Shiite side, firebrand Muqtada al Sadr once again sent his followers to invade the Green Zone — the seat of Iraqi government. The Iraqi security forces appeared helpless to stop the Sadrists.

Not to be outdone, other Shiite factions have sent their armed fighters into the streets of Baghdad, lest Sadr render them irrelevant. The Associate Press quoted a shop-owner located near the Green Zone who was “shocked by the flood of Shiite fighters”:

“I thought the state had collapsed and they were moving in,” he said. Now instead of worrying about Islamic State group attacks, he said, “I’m worried about fighting among the Shiites. Everyone has a gun and money, and now they’re out in the streets.”

In an attempt to show that his government is not entirely feeble, Abadi ordered troops to assault Fallujah, much to the displeasure of American advisers who would rather the Iraqi forces concentrate on the larger objective, which is Mosul. That Iraqi forces have been deflected from Mosul is a sign that the ISIS suicide bomber offensive has worked.


We should call it Barack’s War.


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