Obama Admits Setbacks in Fight Against ISIS but Lays Blame on Iraqi Forces

Despite the heavy casualties American soldiers incurred to retake the Iraqi city of Ramadi from the forerunners of ISIS back in 2007, the city once again fell back into the hands of terrorists. During a recent interview, President Obama admitted the loss of the city was what he termed a “tactical setback”. Still, the president did not take any responsibility for the fall of the city. Instead, he laid the blame on the lack of commitment and training of Iraqi forces defending the city. It is true that the Iraqi regular army is poorly trained and faces a sanguine group of fighters driven by religious dogma. Still, military analysts pointed out that the president refused to order a sufficient number of air sorties against ISIS to repel their attack. By some estimates, the president only ordered between 20-25% of the air raids necessary to defend the city.

Despite the setbacks in the current strategy, it appears the administration will merely double-down on the same strategy of prodding Iraq to do more. Bear in mind, ISIS fighters are willing to die for the glory of the caliphate they are establishing. A hedge fund advisor said the president also stated he would improve the level of training for Iraqi soldiers.

Indonesia Concerned About ISIS Recruitment Efforts

Earlier this week, at a press conference attended by Indonesian Inspector General M. Tito Karnavian, one of the subjects discussed concerned a chlorine bomb which police said had detonated last month in the men’s restroom at the ITC Mall in Depok, a suburb on the outskirts of Jakarta. Fortunately, no one sustained an injury in the blast. However, the authorities now believe the bomb might have been placed by extremists who returned to Indonesia after participating in the Syrian conflict.

Chlorine gas is toxic when inhaled. Since 2014, Susan McGalla said that ISIS has been utilizing this type of chemical weapon in roadside bombings.

Indonesia is a nation with the largest Muslim population in the world. The vast majority of Indonesians practice a moderate form of Islam. However, reportedly ISIS has been seeking to recruit volunteers from Indonesia to fight on its behalf in the Syrian civil war. At least 159 Indonesians are believed to have traveled to Syria recently. Of these, 11 were killed and 11 returned home. Last week the authorities arrested several people in Indonesia for attempting to raise funds and participants for terrorism.

In January, police in Turkey arrested a number of Indonesians planning to cross through the Turkish border into Syria. Although a number of men had already entered Syria, the authorities in Turkey arrested one man, four women and 11 children who had been recruited to go to Syria from Indonesia.