October 25, 2021


IRAQUI FORCESOn December 28, 2015, Iraqi soldiers captured most of Ramadi, the Sunni capital of Anbar province. This is the first major victory for the Baghdad government in its military campaign against Daesh, also called the Islamic State, ISIS and ISIL. The soldiers raised their flag over the government building in the center of Ramadi. This victory over Daesh came seven months after the Iraqi army soldiers dropped their weapons and ran from Ramadi in humiliating defeat by Islamic State jihadists. The Iraqi soldiers were defeated by Daesh in May 2015 even though it had better-equipped army.

Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan wrote an article entitled “Iraqi Security Forces Say They Have ‘Liberated’ Ramadi from Islamic State” which was published in the Wall Street Journal on December 28, 2015. The reporters explained that Iraqi and American military high-ranking officers hoped to take advantage from the momentum of the victory in Ramadi—along with recent Islamic State losses to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq and to mostly Shiite militias in the refinery city of Beiji—to motivate their forces to capture from Daesh the much larger northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The Joint Operations Command, which coordinates military operations of the Iraqi military and the U.S.-led international coalition fighting Islamic State, proclaimed the Iraqi army’s victory on December 28, 2015. The command center said the following: “Yes, Ramadi city has been liberated and security forces, like the heroes of the counterterrorism forces, flew the Iraqi flag over the government compound building in Anbar.”

The reporters said the Iraqi army had been fighting to retake Ramadi for three weeks while being supported by coalition airstrikes. Iraq’s army had been slowly advancing on the downtown neighborhood where the government buildings are located. Sporadic fighting continued on December 28 in Ramadi’s eastern suburbs and some other areas of the city as security forces cleared Islamic State terrorists who were left behind. The Iraqi soldiers found a city littered with land mines and booby-traps, which Islamic State fighters planted in an attempt to stop the Iraqi military’s advance.

ISIS AREASThe retaking of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Sunni province, about 60 miles west of Baghdad was a major victory. It showed a major turnaround by the Iraqi military and dealt the Islamic State its third major battlefield defeat in many months. Before Ramadi’s captured by Daesh, the city had between 700,000 and 900,000 people.

The reporters pointed out that in the largely devastated city center, Iraqi troops were shown on television dancing, waving flags, and singing victory songs. Politicians and military leaders also rushed to congratulate the army. General Talib Shegatti, head of the Joint Operations Command, told state television the following: “It’s a day of joy and celebration for all Iraqis. It’s the day of victories in which security forces defeated terrorism in Ramadi. It was a swift operation which crippled all enemy plans and forced the enemy to run away.”

The campaign for Ramadi was the first test of Iraqi troops after being recently retrained and better equipped by the United States. Both Iraqi and American officials involved said that training was evident in the fighting in Ramadi.

Iraqi security forces posed for pictures with their national flag on December 28, 2015 in front of the heavily damaged Anbar police headquarters after they recaptured the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, about 60 miles west of Baghdad, from Islamic State. Iraq declared the city of Ramadi liberated and raised the national flag over its government complex.

There are still Daesh jihadists fighting in certain area of Ramadi  

The Iraqi army celebration was a bit premature as Anbar Provincial Council head Sabah Karhout told the Associated Press on December 31, 2015 that sporadic clashes and airstrikes were taking place in areas that are still under Daesh control. Karhout stated the following: “A major offensive to clear the remainder of the provincial capital is on hold due to the bad weather. There are families are still trapped in the Daesh-held areas in Ramadi of where they are being used as human shields.” Moreover, Iraqi troops are removing bombs and debris from the city center of Ramadi days after driving out Islamic State militants, as rainy weather slows further combat operations.

Nevertheless on December 28, 2015, Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes drove Daesh out of the city center. Daesh captured Ramadi in May 2015 despite months of U.S.-led airstrikes, dealing a major blow to Iraqi forces

The Iraqi troops used better tactics on the ground, for example, making sure that snipers were covering soldiers while they advanced. That was something that was reinforced in training camps in the months leading up to the counteroffensive. The Iraqi troops said that they had come to better understand these tactics and the way coalition airstrikes can best be used when they are on the offensive. SHOW CAPTION HIDE CAPTION Islamic State still controls a self-declared caliphate stretching across large sections of Syria and Iraq.

The reporters wrote that the victory in Ramadi has boosted the military’s morale as it now will try a more difficult challenge—recapturing Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, which has become Islamic State’s stronghold in the country. The Iraqi army shamefully retreated from the city in June 2014, leaving behind a significant quantity of advanced American-supplied equipment.

The Iraqi army is using air power in a more effective way than in the past, according to both the Iraqi general in charge of air forces and American officers. Even with the success in Ramadi, the Iraqi army is not ready to stand on its own. It still relies heavily on coalition air power and even in Ramadi, troops complained about the lack of pay, promotions, and proper weapons.

In Ramadi, U.S. and Iraqi officers excluded Kurdish and Shiite militias to avoid aggravating sectarian and ethnic tensions. Instead, U.S. advisers helped train a thousand-strong force of local Sunni tribal fighters who can help hold territory taken by the military.


The effective training given to the Iraqi army by U.S. advisors must continue. Obama needs to send more advisors to Iraq and to the Kurds. Keeping out the Kurdish and Shiite militias out the Sunni areas of Iraq needs to continue, particularly the Shiite militias who enjoy killing Sunnis.

The enormous mistake made by Obama in pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq when al-Qaida was defeated is quite evident. The entire Pentagon recommended Obama to leave a few thousand U.S. troops in Iraq to continue training the Iraqi army and to conduct intelligence operations in the area. Obama refused and chaos ensued. All the American blood spilled on defeating the terrorists was wasted by the incompetent Commander-in-chief.