Iraqi Assault on Ramadi Slows as it Meets Resistance and Traps

Iraqi forces’ assault to retake the city of Ramadi has slowed as they have encountered a neighborhood with a dense number of booby traps placed by the Islamic State. Iraqi forces seized the city center yesterday, but met more resistance as they pushed south into the al-Baker neighborhood. “The area is full of bombs and ...

GettyImages-502311012
GettyImages-502311012

Iraqi forces’ assault to retake the city of Ramadi has slowed as they have encountered a neighborhood with a dense number of booby traps placed by the Islamic State. Iraqi forces seized the city center yesterday, but met more resistance as they pushed south into the al-Baker neighborhood. “The area is full of bombs and mined houses. Plus, there are pockets of resistance by Daesh,” Dr. Naseer Al Nouri, an adviser to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, told the Wall Street Journal. “The operation needs two to three days to fully clear the area.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the progress made by Iraqi forces so far. “The good news today is [that we are] taking back and liberating Ramadi. Plus we are [now more] determined to liberate Mosul,” he said in a statement posted online while visiting China to work on shoring up the Iraqi economy. “We’re encouraged by this tactical development, which is a continuation of the progress we’ve seen over the last several weeks,” U.S. coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren said, noting that “there’s still tough fighting ahead in Ramadi’s dense urban terrain.”

Explosion at Turkish Airport Kills One, Cause Unknown

Iraqi forces’ assault to retake the city of Ramadi has slowed as they have encountered a neighborhood with a dense number of booby traps placed by the Islamic State. Iraqi forces seized the city center yesterday, but met more resistance as they pushed south into the al-Baker neighborhood. “The area is full of bombs and mined houses. Plus, there are pockets of resistance by Daesh,” Dr. Naseer Al Nouri, an adviser to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, told the Wall Street Journal. “The operation needs two to three days to fully clear the area.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the progress made by Iraqi forces so far. “The good news today is [that we are] taking back and liberating Ramadi. Plus we are [now more] determined to liberate Mosul,” he said in a statement posted online while visiting China to work on shoring up the Iraqi economy. “We’re encouraged by this tactical development, which is a continuation of the progress we’ve seen over the last several weeks,” U.S. coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren said, noting that “there’s still tough fighting ahead in Ramadi’s dense urban terrain.”

Explosion at Turkish Airport Kills One, Cause Unknown

An explosion occurred in the early hours of the morning today in a plane parking area at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport. One person was killed and another was injured. The cause of the explosion is still unknown and it’s unclear if it is related to an act of terrorism.

Headlines

  • Gunmen assassinated Jalal al-Awbali, a colonel in Yemen’s southern resistance, as he traveled by car in Aden; the affiliation of the assailants is unknown.

 

  • Selahattin Demirtas, leader of Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, the latest demonstration of tensions since Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian warplane along the Turkey-Syria border; Demirtas criticized Ankara’s actions during his visit.

 

  • Three Israelis were seriously wounded by two Palestinian men wielding knives outside the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City; police shot and killed the two assailants.

 

  • Egypt has hired a consulting firm, Control Risks, to review security at Egyptian airports in response to the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian commercial jet.

 

  • Despite assurances about the Obama administration’s ability to waive certain measures, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned that a U.S. bill to restrict its visa waiver program would be a breach of the international nuclear agreement if implemented “as is.”

Arguments and Analysis

The West in the Arab Word, Between Ennui and Ecstasy” (Peter Harling and Alex Simon, The Arabist)

“Behind of all this posturing are incoherent binaries of good versus evil — typically euphemized in the language of “stability versus terrorism’ — whereby states attempt to reduce the pandemonium to one or two irreconcilable enemies, one or two overarching goals and however many direct or proxy wars appear necessary to suppress the former and achieve the latter. In other words, keep it simple: pick your mania, ignore all else, and it will finally make sense. The reality, of course, is precisely the opposite. In a region so chaotic and fluid, monomaniacal policies will unfailingly make matters worse, compounding polarization when success rests on building bridges. The result has been a dizzying spectrum of overlapping and ever-shifting alliances, rivalries, and proxy wars that regional and international players continue to escalate despite usually lacking an end game. Increasingly, this state of affairs feeds into self-enforcing loops where governments seek to reverse or simply distract from their past failures by doubling down on the most belligerent aspects of what were initially ambivalent, multifaceted postures.”

 

U.S. Donors Gave Settlements More Than $220 Million in Tax-exempt Funds Over Five Years” (Uri Blau, Haaretz)

“Private U.S. donors are massively funding Israeli settlements by using a network of tax-exempt nonprofits, which funnelled more than $220 million (about 850 million shekels) to Jewish communities in the West Bank in 2009-2013 alone, a Haaretz investigation has found. The funding is being used for anything from buying air conditioners to supporting the families of convicted Jewish terrorists, and comes from tax-deductible donations made to around 50 U.S.-based groups. Thanks to their status as nonprofits, these organizations are not taxed on their income and donations made to them are tax deductible — meaning the U.S. government is incentivizing and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement, even though it has been consistently opposed by every U.S. administration for the past 48 years.”

-J. Dana Stuster

-/AFP/Getty Images

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.