US Marines fire a Howitzer artillery gun during the Second Battle of Fallujah. / Photo by Lance Corporal Samantha L. Jones, USMC.
McClathcy News: Sense of déjà vu as U.S. once again sees ‘victory’ coming in Iraq
* There is still no Sunni Muslim group to lead in areas retaken from Islamic State
* Sunni leaders risk their credibility if they align with Shiite-led government in Baghdad
* U.S. belief that it had cleared Mosul of Sunni extremists in 2007 proved wrong in 2014
WASHINGTON: The news sounded just as good this week as it did in 2007: With U.S. backing, Iraqi forces have pushed savage extremists out of key territories in what seems to be a turning point in the campaign to rout the insurgency.
The lesson of 2007, however, was that such victories can be fleeting. The jihadist movement that today is known as the Islamic State found fertile ground in areas the U.S. government thought had been pacified.
Now, diplomats and analysts warn, the same toxic mix of a security vacuum and sectarian governance could threaten the gains against the Islamic State that the Obama administration touted this week at gatherings in Washington of officials from the anti-Islamic State coalition.
Missing, the diplomats and analysts say: a Sunni Muslim authority that can hold and govern the newly reclaimed territories.
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WNU editor: A good assessment on why this conflict is not going to end with the defeat of the Islamic State. The Sunni - Shiite conflict has been ongoing since the birth of Islam. Sending in a few thousand troops and helping the Iraqi government defeat the Islamic State is not going to change the long tern security outlook for Iraq .... or for the Middle East as a whole.