For those looking for good news, there was plenty: the emergence of Iraq’s elite fighters, and the apparent absence of the Shia militias which have threatened to turn the ISIS conflict into a sectarian war.But there was troubling news as well. The Iraqi army’s inability to lead the five month battle for Ramadi leaves many in the Pentagon dubious of plans to liberate ISIS’s biggest Iraqi stronghold, in Mosul, despite pronouncements from Iraqi political leaders that the operation is on the horizon. The ISF can, at best, carry out the ancillary aspects of war fighting. And the elite counterterrorism unit is not large enough to do the job of liberating—and holding—multiple cities simultaneously.



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