No biggie if Ramadi falls -Dempsey
Stars and Stripes 4/16/15
WASHINGTON — America’s top military officer said defending the embattled Iraqi city of Ramadi is of secondary importance compared with protecting the Beiji oil refinery from Islamic State militants.
The group may be on the verge of overrunning Ramadi, according to news reporters. But Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the city’s fall would be more of a humanitarian problem than a strategic setback.
“The city itself it’s not symbolic in any way,” he told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. “It’s not been declared part of [Islamic State’s] ‘caliphate’ on one hand or central to the future of Iraq… I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won’t be the end of a campaign” if it does.The U.S.-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against militant targets near Ramadi, but more resources are being devoted to the fight over Beiji, which is more significant in the minds of military planners.