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First take/Iraq

The 60 Minutes report this week on the fight in Iraq was both illuminating and complexifying – but that latter was necessary.

There were small points: Almost everyone CBS talked to on the field (and that included soldiers in a front line) referred not to ISIS but to Daesh – and don’t be surprised if people rapidly start switching to that instead of ISIS or the Islamic State, not least because those guys not to like it. (A British report said “Daesh, an adapted acronym of their Arabic name – Dawlat al-Islamiyah f’al-Iraq w Belaad al-Sham – is similar to another Arabic word – das – which means ‘to trample down’ or ‘crush’, which could therefore be the source of their dislike.”)

There was almost some enlightening material about the thousands of drone and other strike U.S. forces alone have unleashed into the Daesh-held state.

An oddity emerged in that area. The U.S. missile strikes and other air support have been going out in support of the small and somewhat weak Iraqi-national army and the few others formally aligned with it; but not in support of others – such as Shiite and other insurgent forces – which are only informally aligned with it. That almost comes across as a bureaucratic glitch. So to the U.S. vehicles and weapons that have fallen into Daesh hands.

The report seemed to indicate, in aggregate, that progress is being made, albeit slowly. But a question comes from some of that too: What happens if Daesh is beaten? What happens to control of the region then? Has anyone thought it through? –rs

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