No force now on the ground can beat ISIS

Consider this bottom line: Weekend strikes from U.S. warplanes defending the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and the recently retaken Mosul Dam managed to destroy a jihadist Humvee and an armed vehicle, according to U.S. Central Command. Meanwhile jihadists from the Islamic State scored a major advance in neighboring Syria by finally capturing the air base at Tabqa, the last military stronghold of the Syrian government in Raqqa province, and pressing assaults against more moderate rebels in northern Aleppo province, threatening to cut all-important supply lines to Turkey.

In Iraq, the loss of the key Mosul Dam doesn’t appear to have rocked the jihadists and their Sunni allies on their heels either. They are continuing to press their siege on Amirli, a Shia Turkmen town in northern Iraq, prompting fears that residents there may endure the same fate as the Yazidis of Sinjar, who fled to a mountaintop in the face of the Islamic State advance, a humanitarian crisis that partly prompted U.S. intervention in Iraq this month in the first place…

“The Peshmerga are doing their best but they are not the fighting force they were,” says a senior British military observer. “There is an element of Dad’s Army to them with the bulk veterans from guerrilla warfare from 20 to 30 years ago.” Analysts say the Kurds’ elite counter-terrorist group is doing well and has notched successes, taking some vantage points from jihadist fighters, but they are anxious for promised help from abroad.

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