The Islamic State nears Baghdad

The Feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux

What is going on here?  The Islamic State appears to be advancing on the Baghdad Airport and nobody cares.  Rear Admiral John Kirby acknowledged (you have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the point where he actually talks about Baghdad in response to a reporter’s question) the presence of Islamic State forces within five miles of Baghdad International Airport but seemed rather dismissive of the whole thing.  Oh, the Iraqis will take care of it; they are actually a lot better than you think.  This seems to be the mantra coming out of Washington.  Do they really believe this?

My own personal opinion is that Baghdad would be a tough nut for the Islamic State to crack.  It is an urban megalopolis filled with several armed militias that are populated by people who would be overwhelmingly hostile to the Islamic State and its ideology.  And the forces of the Islamic State don’t seem nearly sufficient numbers wise to capture and control a city that big.  And one would think that a massive wave of air strikes combined with the complete and rabid hostility of Baghdad’s Shi’ite population would stop any advance of the would be caliphate in its tracks.  Maybe this is what the White House and the Pentagon are thinking?

But one would also have to think that the Islamic State has taken this into account.  So what is going on here?  Probably more than meets the eye, as is usual in these cases.

First of all the Islamic State seems to be a far more formidable organization than a lot of people want to give it credit for.  An organization that can manage the siege of Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) in the far north of central Syria on the Turkish border, while at the same time conducting an advance on the Baghdad International Airport 350 miles away as the cruise missile flies and maintaining a fight against the Kurds on the northern stretch of what used to be the Iraq/Syria border while all the time being under threat of US airstrikes throughout their entire theater of operations is not a pushover.

And then there is the strange deer in the headlights posture of the government of the most materially powerful nation in the world: the United States of America.  Its air campaign against the Islamic State has hardly been what one would call devastating; its Secret Service can’t seem to stay out of its own way when it comes to protecting the American President; and now there is a case of Ebola in of all places Dallas, Texas.  Maybe all of the decades of moral insanity in American society have now begun to take their toll, maybe not.  Who knows?

I don’t know what the Islamic State’s plans for Baghdad are.  My opinion is that they would love to find some way to take out the airport and to put the city under some sort of siege and/or drive a significant portion of Baghdad’s population out of the city through terrorism.  But I could be entirely wrong.  Who knows what they are going to do?  But after almost two months of US airstrikes in Iraq and a couple of weeks of those same airstrikes in Syria the initiative clearly remains with the Islamic State and that is not a good thing.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

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