Did they want the Iraqis to win a great victory over the Islamic State all by themselves? Or did they want the Islamic State to take Ramadi? We need answers, but almost certainly aren’t going to get them from a press that covers for Obama at every turn.
“U.S. Saw Islamic State Coming, Let It Take Ramadi,” by Eli Lake, Bloomberg, May 28, 2015:
The U.S. watched Islamic State fighters, vehicles and heavy equipment gather on the outskirts of Ramadi before the group retook the city in mid-May. But the U.S. did not order airstrikes against the convoys before the battle started. It left the fighting to Iraqi troops, who ultimately abandoned their positions.
U.S. intelligence and military officials told me recently, on the condition of anonymity, that the U.S. had significant intelligence about the pending Islamic State offensive in Ramadi. For the U.S. military, it was an open secret even at the time.
The Islamic State had been contesting territory in and around Ramadi for more than a year and had spoken of the importance of recapturing the city. The U.S. intelligence community had good warning that the Islamic State intended a new and bolder offensive on Ramadi because it was able to identify the convoys of heavy artillery, vehicle bombs and reinforcements through overhead imagery and eavesdropping on chatter from local Islamic State commanders. It surprised no one, one U.S. intelligence official told me.
Other observers were willing to speak on the record about how many had seen the Islamic State’s assault on Ramadi coming. “The operations on Ramadi have been ongoing for 16 months,” said Derek Harvey, a former intelligence adviser to David Petraeus when he commanded the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. Harvey said many observers had seen the Islamic State’s series of probing attacks and psychological operations aimed at the Iraqi army and local tribes: “Everyone knew that Ramadi for some reason was a major focus.” He conceded that he did not know the exact timing of the Ramadi offensive beforehand and acknowledged that he was surprised at how effective the operations were….