Islamic State fighters are clearly on the move. They’ve sent additional fighters from over the border in Syria. And in the past week, they’ve taken an Iraqi military base. They hold cities, including Fallujah. And they’re threatening Ramadi, as well.
Now local officials estimate they control as much as 80 percent of Anbar Province. Now Anbar is a Sunni Muslim area, and ISIS has been able to find some support among those Sunni tribes – people who felt alienated from the last Iraqi government. But that may be changing with the new Iraqi government.
This is an area that is dominated by Sunni tribes, as you said. These tribes turned against the United States years ago, were brought back onto the other side and fought for the United States.
No one thinks that Baghdad can fall because you have the most elite troops – Iraqi troops – there. You also have Shiite militias trained by Iran there. And – but the city is about 15 miles from the fighting. And if they get close enough, the Islamic State could use their mortars and artillery to strike Baghdad. You have 5,000 Americans in the embassy there, hundreds of American troops at the airport.