The airstrikes haven’t stopped the Islamic State. What a surprise. “Islamic State withstands bombing campaign, plots Baghdad invasion,” by Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times, October 5, 2014:
The Islamic State holds just about the same number of towns in Iraq today as it did two months ago, when the U.S. began a bombing campaign to whittle down the terrorist army and support Iraqi ground troops trying to retake territory.
More troubling, analysts say, is that the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, is ramping up what appear to be operations designed to one day invade Baghdad.
Its objective is to take the international airport and begin conquering the capital, section by section. The Islamic State is continuing its urban attacks with car bombs, some of which have been detonated by foreign suicide bombers.
The Pentagon is not openly confident that the Iraqi Security Forces will hold Baghdad. A spokesman has declined to predict that the sprawling city will stay in government control.
The 2-month-old air campaign can be viewed in two ways. On one hand, the U.S. coalition strikes have slowed and, in some cases, stopped the Islamic State’s advances. On the other hand, they have done little to achieve the ultimate goal of breaking the terrorists’ grip on Mosul, Tal Afar, Fallujah and more than 10 other towns in northern and western Iraq.
The Islamic State has captured large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and has declared itself a caliphate.
One Iraq War veteran said the bombing has been falling short.
“I judge the bombing, quite frankly, to the strategic aims in Iraq being two objectives,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, who supervised the training of Iraqi forces during the 2007 U.S. troop surge. “Restore the sovereign border of Iraq and, two, eliminate ISIS as a threat to the sovereignty of Iraq. And they have certainly not done anything to those aims.”
Others see a positive side. Slowing the Islamic State’s advances “shows that we have been successful with the easier, first stage,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. “The hard part, as predicted, is taking territory back. Air power can’t, won’t do it.”
In Iraq on Sunday, the Islamic State publicly killed six Iraqi soldiers captured in western Anbar province, where the terrorists continue to advance despite the expanding U.S.-led campaign of airstrikes, residents told The Associated Press.
In Syria, the terrorist army shelled the beleaguered Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, near the border with Turkey, as part of its weekslong offensive against the town and surrounding villages that has forced 160,000 people to flee across the border.
Analysts for the Institute for the Study of War regularly publish a map titled “Control of Terrain in Iraq,” which uses color codes to designate who controls what, and what remains up for grabs.
It is noteworthy how similar the map of Aug. 10, when the air campaign began, is with the one published Friday, two months later. It paints the picture of an entrenched Islamic State that is still threatening government-held territory in Iraq….