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ISIS likely seeks to merge the efforts of these two Anbar elements and close the gap at Hit. If ISIS succeeds in this, it will isolate pro-government tribes that are fighting ISIS in Haditha and Ramadi from ISF reinforcements.
It will also relieve ISIS elements in Anbar by diminishing the local population’s opportunity to resist. The ISIS offensive for Anbar is closely linked to the ISIS campaign for the Baghdad Belts.
If ISIS can consolidate its core strength in Anbar, then its reinforcements that are currently augmenting attacks in this zone will likely shift to reinforce the northern and southern Baghdad Belts and prepare to attack the capital.
In 2010, when Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the army to stand by for an imminent attack on Iran and the chief of staff refused to comply.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who related the incident two years later, added that he’d never before seen the entire political leadership adamantly insisting on one course of action and the entire professional military leadership absolutely opposing it.
Four years on, the issue still festers. At the peak of the war in Gaza this summer, analyst Shlomi Eldar accused Netanyahu of all but turning a blind eye to Hamas’ tunnels that formed a pretext for the ground incursion. The reason for this, Eldar charged, was that the prime minister was completely “obsessed” with Iran.
The report did not make clear why Barak and Netanyahu chose not to insist on pushing forward with their decision, in the face of the objections from Ashkenazi and Dagan, Dagan would say that “the prime minister and the defense minister tried to steal a war – it was as simple as that.”