The Coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has failed to dent the Islamist movement.
Despite thousands of bombing missions by Western warplanes, the Iraqi army and its Syrian counterpart continue to retreat in the face of a few hundred determined fighters.
The Coalition and its allies promised earlier this year that they were about to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city that fell to ISIS during its lightning offensive last summer. Instead it is the newly rearmed Iraqi army that is once again in retreat.
ISIS fighters marched into Ramadi, a Sunni Muslim majority city in the restive Anbar province that became one of the centres of the resistance to the US occupation, and then a centre of the Sahwa “Awakening movement”, an alliance of major Sunni tribes that allied itself to the occupation to destroy the forerunner of ISIS.
The city fell amid humiliating footage of Iraqi soldiers scrambling into trucks to flee the Islamists.
Across the border Bashar Assad’s army has not fared any better. Assad’s troops fled Palmyra, a historic and strategic city in the Syrian dessert, after coming under siege by ISIS.
Syrian army officers, along with their families and senior officials, abandoned its own soldiers and civilians to their fate. Many of these troops now face death at the hands of ISIS.
In both countries the curious alliance of Shia Muslim dominated sectarian militias, Iranian military and Western coalition airpower has failed to destroys the Islamic State.
Instead it continues to feed off the widespread repression of Sunni Muslims in the region.
A recent poll by Aljazeera Arabic found that the bombing campaign has backfired, with some 82 percent of the 10,000 people polled declaring that they now support ISIS.