The war against the Islamic State continues along both ends of the Euphrates, targeting two of the pseudo-caliphate’s strongholds. In the north, Kurdish-led forces have launched an assault against Islamic State positions near the outskirts of Raqqa. Meanwhile, Iraqi police reclaimed villages just outside of Fallujah as part of a campaign launched earlier this week to recapture the war torn city.
Alex McQuade was a national security intern at the Brookings Institution. He recently graduated with a master’s degree in Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy from American University. Alex holds a BA in National Security Studies and Justice and Law, also from American University.
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It is the “beginning of the end” for the Islamic State in Anbar province, according to the Pentagon, which began pounding Fallujah as part of coordinated ground and air strikes with the Iraqi army yesterday. Although the death toll has not yet been verified, at least 34 Islamic State fighters were killed and one IS communications center was destroyed. Iraq’s military also targeted bomb-making factories and rocket-launch sites throughout the city.
The battle for Fallujah has begun.
Military Commission hearings started up again down at Guantanamo this week, and as always, we had them covered. Cody Poplin shared a statement from Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins prior to this week’s hearings in the case of Abd al Hadi al Iraqi. Up next, Nora Ellingsen followed Tuesday's pre-trial hearings.
“The time… has arrived. It’s time to leave Raqqa.” The United States military is warning residents of the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa to leave the city, suggesting that an offensive against Raqqa was imminent. The Daily Beast reports that “in the past day, residents of Raqqa have posted photos of the warnings on Twitter, saying they were airdropped on leaflets by the U.S.-led coalition.
Baghdad is in trouble. Following a deadly week of Islamic State attacks in Baghdad, the United States is now urging Iraq not to pull back troops from the front lines against the terrorist group in order to protect the capital. The Iraqi capital city has once again become familiar with deadly bombings with at least one occurring every day over the past week. At least 200 people are now dead.
President Obama has now been at war longer than any other American commander-in-chief. The New York Times writes that “if the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria until the end of Mr.