By Simon Kent.
It was the victory of the so called "Islamic State," also known as Daesh, that shocked the world. Ramadi, capital of Anbar province and home to half a million Sunnis, fell to ISIS over the spring despite repeated proclamations from the Obama administration that the war against the terrorists was going well.
The fiasco came almost a year after the rise of ISIS and the equally shocking fall of Mosul, prompting some to proclaim that the Iraqi army was finally over and that Iraq was finished.
All these predictions now seem misplaced: after months of refining the process of calling in US air strikes and battling through waves of suicide armoured car bombs and minefields of IEDs, the Iraqi army looks set to evict the remaining ISIS forces from Ramadi.
That would represent a massive victory, since the city has long been a center of Sunni resistance to the terrorists. With more government support, local Sunni police and tribes look set to secure the town for the long term.
Perhaps more importantly, the low number of trapped militants, around 300 fighters who cut themselves off after destroying bridges in the city, illustrates just how unpopular "Daesh" are with Iraqi Sunnis.
Whatever the analysis, the liberation of Ramadi represents a huge boost to security and confidence in Iraq. Unless the operation is unexpectedly derailed, this represents a huge blow to ISIS and a boost to the government of Haider al Abadi.
(Source: BBC News)