We need to be very careful because as soon as we drop that first bomb or shoot that first hellfire, we have picked sides and we need to make sure that we’re picking sides for an Iraqi government that’s inclusive and that we aren’t making a broader determination of Sunni versus Shia within the regional perspective.”– Steve GanyardNEW YORK, NY — On June 22, Colonel Steve Ganyard (USMC Ret.), alongside General James Cartwright (USMC Ret.) commented on the deteriorating situation in Iraq with Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week.
Ganyard noted a plan sketched by the deceased leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which was found on his body when he was killed in 2006, and afterward nicknamed “The Baghdad Belt.” According to Ganyard, this plan gives a good indication of ISIS’ current goal: encircle Baghdad and bring down Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government. With this goal in mind, Cartwright reminded viewers that ISIS’ current weakness lies in how thinly they are stretched across 300-400 km; a very tenuous logistics chain should the group (very likely) consider encircling Baghdad.
In reference to calls for U.S. air power, Ganyard pointed out that ISIS is bringing in supply convoys from Syria in the west, which could provide rural, open locations where U.S. air strikes could be effective. However, there are no U.S. eyes and boots on the ground to pick out ISIS targets in increasingly urban areas within Iraq.
Watch the entire clip here (2:02 mark).