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Washington rethinking Iraq strategy

Reporter: Sean Callebs 丨 CCTV.com

05-20-2015 11:34 BJT

The US, after years of training Iraqi troops and thousands of airstikes targeting ISIL militants, is saying a better plan in Iraq is urgent.

The distinctive black flag of the Islamic State now flies over Ramadi. ISIL forces routed poorly trained Iraqi forces and Sunni militia.

The U-S calls the defeat a temporary setback. To the thousands of people forced to flee the violence -it is a devastating loss, leaving refugees stuck in the desert, hungry, thirsty, and eager for answers.

"We call on the government to find the solution, because our children are sick -families are displaced in the desert. We cannot live in the desert without food and drink," a local resident said.

The US-led coalition has unleashed more than 34-hundred air attacks on advancing ISIL forces. And, the United States is busy training some seven-thousand Iraqi troops for battle.

But, at this point in Washington, -- Republicans and Democrats are calling on the Obama Administration to come up with a better plan in Iraq, after Iraqi troops were driven from Ramadi.

"And the administration says it is just a temporary setback! It's 70 miles from baghdad -it's time for the president to get serious about this threat to americans and our allies all around the world," said John Boehner, U.S. House Speaker.

After initially urging Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to not send Iranian-backed Shia militia to Ramadi -- fearing sectarian violence in the region could explode -- the Obama administration now says it supports the measure. And, says, that al-Abidi can be an effective inclusive leader.

"The United States will be very supportive of multi-sectarian efforts who are taking command and control orders from the Iraqi central government," Josh Earnest, White House Spokesman, said.

And the goal remains the same.  Drive ISIL from Ramadi and Anbar province.

"I am not going to set any time lines in terms of this -but obviously you know -our goal here is to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. And yes, that means driving them out of ramadi," Josh Earnest said.

Military analysts say --- it's more than a "setback." It means Iraq and its allies are in for a long, hard fight.

"I think it does mean that the overall battle plan against ISIL is going to have to be slower than predicted - and it means a lot of good Iraqis, including some key American allies are going to be killed," said Michael O'Hanlon, SR. Fellow, The Brookings Institution.

Less than two months ago Iranian-backed Shia forces, -help drive ISIL out of Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

At the time, Iraq's prime minister envisioned troops moving on and forcing the Islamic State out of Mosul - Iraq's second largest city, - and, to date, the most important city ISIL has captured.

But now - 'when' Iraq can muster enough strength to take on ISIL in Mosul ----is anyone's guess.

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