Iraq’s Anbar province appeals to U.S. to help stop ISIS

The Anbar Providence of Iraq has issued an urgent plea for U.S. military intervention, warning the area, just west of Baghdad, could be easily overrun by Islamic State militants.

USA Today reported that Sabah Al-Karhout, President of the Anbar Provincial Council, has shared information that the militant group is sending up to 10,000 fighters to the region.  He, along with other leaders, are seeking ground forces from the U.S. to extricate ISIS from Syria and Iraq.

“The situation in Anbar is very bad,” said Al-Karhout.  ISIS controls 80% of the province but has yet to take over Haditha, the last large town not overrun by the group.

According to CNN, the Iraqi Army forces and Anbar tribesmen currently protecting the region have threatened to leave their posts if U.S. ground troops do not intervene. Falleh al-Issawi, Provincial Council’s Deputy Head, said they are wavering against the ISIS attack.

While the Iraqi government has made it clear it does not want the U.S. military on its soil and U.S. President Barack Obama does not plan to send any, the Iraqi and Anbar forces are unable to defend themselves against ISIS, according to al-Issawi.  He said that due to lack of training and equipment, approximately 1,800 tribesmen have been injured or killed during the fight against the militant group.

The U.S.-led air campaign is scheduled to resume this weekend.  Thus far, the coalition airstrike has reportedly killed more than 30 suspected ISIS militants, said town police Capt. Bahjat al-Hamdani.  But even though the airstrikes have been going on since August, the ISIS has continued to expand its reach.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has acknowledged the dreadful situation, telling reporters, “Anbar province is in trouble. We know that.”

CNN reported a U.S. Central Command official said that so far, ISIS is not a threat to Baghdad. There are “pockets” of the militant group’s fighters around Baghdad, but “continues to maintain firm control of the city, and there is no imminent threat of an effective ISIS offensive,” the official said.

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Francona, a CNN military analyst, said, “I think at some point, there’s going to be the need for an additional ground force in western Iraq.  The Iraqi army has virtually evaporated. The command structure doesn’t exist. Although they have some good soldiers, they have no leadership. So, additional ground forces are going to be necessary.”


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