ISIS Had a Good Year in PR, Not So Good on the Ground

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Iraqi forces are fighting to retake control of Ramadi, a city of half a million about an hour west of Baghdad:

“I think the fall of Ramadi is inevitable,” said Col. Steven H. Warren, the United States military spokesman here. “The end is coming.” But he added: “That said, it’s going to be a tough fight.”

….If Iraqi forces manage to reassert control over Ramadi — the capital and largest city in Iraq’s western Anbar Province — it will be the latest in a series of military setbacks for the Islamic State. President Obama said recently that the militant group had lost 40 percent of the Iraqi territory it had seized in the middle of last year, as the United States and its allies have intensified their aerial bombardment against the group. In October, Iraqi forces and Shiite militias retook control of the northern city of Baiji and its oil refinery, and last month, Kurdish and Yazidi forces expelled the Islamic State out of the northern city of Sinjar.

Progress is slow but steady. The map below, from IHS, shows the territory lost by ISIS over the past year. There’s still a long way to go.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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