The Washington Post reports: As Islamic State militants repeatedly attacked Ramadi this year, police solicited cash from local families and businessmen to buy weapons, one officer recalled. The Iraqi government didn’t pay the police for months, he said.
“We begged and begged for more support from the government, but nothing,” said Col. Eissa al-Alwani, a senior police officer in the city.
The fall of Ramadi amounts to more than the loss of a major city in Iraq’s largest province, analysts say. It could undermine Sunni support for Iraq’s broader effort to drive back the Islamic State, vastly complicating the war effort.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday reiterated a government pledge to train and arm Sunni fighters to rout the extremists from the predominantly Sunni province. The government had announced a military campaign that envisioned taking back Anbar province in the coming months and then moving on for a climactic battle with the extremists in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
But the plan to form an effective Sunni fighting force was slow to take shape, hobbled by government concerns that some of the Sunnis might be close to the Islamic State, analysts say. [Continue reading…]