Yesterday’s Washington Post reported that Anbar province in western Iraq is all but lost to the insurgency (which is dominated, there, by Al Qaeda in Iraq). Today the senior commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq, seeking to counter that assessment, succeeds only in confirming it (AP).
“I’ve got the force levels I need right now,” [Marine Maj. Gen. Richard C.] Zilmer said. “My mission out here, along with the rest of the force, is to develop the ISF (Iraqi security forces), and I think we have the appropriate force levels to do that. Now, if that mission statement changes — if there is seen a larger role for coalition forces out here to win that insurgency fight — then that is going to change the metrics of what we need out here.”
Meaning he’d need more (American) troops–in addition to the 30,000 currently in Anbar. Does the US have the appetite for a military escalation there? Unlikely.