Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rout In Ramadi, Shi'ite Forces Plan Counter-Attack, Le Pen Troubled By TTIP Deal








The fall of Ramadi calls into question the Obama administration’s strategy in Iraq.

Is there a Plan B?

The current US approach is a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, prodding Baghdad to reconcile with the nation’s Sunnis, and bombing Islamic State targets from the air without committing American ground combat troops.

But the rout revealed a weak Iraqi army, slow reconciliation and a bombing campaign that, while effective, is not decisive.

But anything close to a victory appeared far off. The Islamic State group captured Ramadi over the weekend, killing up to 500 Iraqi civilians and soldiers and causing 8,000 people to flee their homes. On Monday the militants did a door-to-door search looking for policemen and pro-government tribesmen.


The Institute for the Study of War, which closely tracks developments in Iraq, said Ramadi was a key IS victory.
“This strategic gain constitutes a turning point in ISIS’ ability to set the terms of battle in Anbar as well to project force in eastern Iraq,” the institute said.









Thousands of Shi'ite militiamen on Monday prepared to fight Islamic State insurgents who seized the Iraqi provincial capital Ramadi at the weekend in the biggest defeat for government forces in nearly a year.
A column of 3,000 Shi'ite militia fighters assembled at a military base near Ramadi, preparing to take on Islamic State militants advancing in armored vehicles from the captured city northwest of Baghdad, witnesses and a military officer said.
The decision by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is a Shi'ite, to send in the militias to try to retake the predominantly Sunni city could add to sectarian hostility in one of the most violent parts of Iraq.
An eyewitness described a long line of armored vehicles and trucks mounted with machine guns and rockets, flying the yellow flags of Kataib Hezbollah, one of the militia factions, heading towards the base about 30 km (20 miles) from Ramadi.
The United Nations said 25,000 people fled the city after the Islamic State attack, heading east to Baghdad. Many were believed to be running from the black-clad fighters of the militia for the second time - about 130,000 left in April.

About 500 people were killed in the fighting for Ramadi in recent days.
Islamic State said it had seized tanks and killed "dozens of apostates", its description for members of the Iraqi security forces. An eyewitness said bodies of policemen and soldiers lay in almost every street, with burnt-out military vehicles nearby.
The city's fall marked the biggest defeat since the fall of Mosul in June last year and was a blow to the anti-Islamic State forces: the U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi security forces, which have been propped up by Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias
It was a harsh return to reality for Washington, which at the weekend had mounted a special forces raid in Syria in which it said it killed an Islamic State leader in charge of the group's black market oil and gas sales, and captured his wife.
Islamic State said it had seized tanks and killed "dozens of apostates", its description for members of the Iraqi security forces. An eyewitness said bodies of policemen and soldiers lay in almost every street, with burnt-out military vehicles nearby.
The city's fall marked the biggest defeat since the fall of Mosul in June last year and was a blow to the anti-Islamic State forces: the U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi security forces, which have been propped up by Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias
It was a harsh return to reality for Washington, which at the weekend had mounted a special forces raid in Syria in which it said it killed an Islamic State leader in charge of the group's black market oil and gas sales, and captured his wife.










Leader of France’s National Front party, Marine Le Pen, has launched a month-long blitz against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a proposed EU-US treaty, which has been criticized for secretiveness and lack of accountability.

“It is vital that the French people know about TTIP’s content and its motivations in order to be able to fight it. Because our fellow countrymen must have the choice of their future, because they should impose a model for society that suits them, and not forced by multinational companies eager for profits, Brussels technocrats sold to the lobbies, politicians from the UMP [party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy], who are subservient to these technocrats,” Le Pen said during a press conference in Paris.

Since 2013, open-ended negotiations between Washington and Brussels have drawn up the framework for the agreement, intended to standardize legislation and bring down trade barriers between them. 

As per US practice, the contents of all economic treaties are classified. The EU has recently set up reading rooms throughout Europe for officials with clearance – but only a few thousand people have had access to the working documents. 

Le Pen hit out at the secrecy of the negotiations, which have featured mostly bureaucrats from the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, and nebulous “stakeholders” from businesses and public organizations. As a member of the European parliament, she forwarded a motion for greater transparency in negotiations last year. Le Pen’s motion was defeated.


She is now hoping for grassroots support. 

“I am convinced that we can push back the TTIP if the peoples are informed of its content, and if they decide themselves to join us in order to express their disagreement concerning this treaty,” Le Pen told journalists. 



“It is vital that the French people know about TTIP’s content and its motivations in order to be able to fight it...


US President Barack Obama, who is also negotiating a similar treaty with Asia, was defeated by his own party in the Senate last week when he asked for fast-track approval to handle negotiations. Additional votes will be required if the proposed legislation is not to be bogged down in the US chambers of Congress. 





No comments: