RAMADI RECLAIMED, BUT IN RUINS The taking of Ramadi was touted as a major strategic victory for Iraqi forces in their fight against the Islamic State. But retaking Ramadi wasn’t a clean business – the Iraqi city, according to a New York Times report, is in ruins. The U.S. coalition claims to have pushed ISIS back far enough that it has lost 30 percent of its territory in Iraq and Syria. But the battles for these strategically important cities – Mosul and Raqqa still are under ISIS control – leave behind a situation that is anything but stable – and there isn’t a clear plan for rebuilding.
MORE STRIKES AGAINST ISIS The Washington Post’s Checkpoint blog has pulled together data about U.S. air strikes against the Islamic State.
Comparison charts show how the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State has ratcheted up as strikes in Afghanistan have ratcheted down, and suggest that the intensity of the campaign is on the upswing.
U.S. MISSILE POPS UP IN CUBA Once upon a time, the United States sent a Hellfire missile to Europe – and it somehow ended up being shipped to Cuba on an Air France flight in 2014. Investigators are scratching their heads trying to figure out how a piece of military technology so sensitive could have ended up being delivered into the wrong hands, the Wall Street Journal reports. U.S. authorities have been trying to get Cuba to return the missile as part of the thaw in relations, as they try to figure out whether the transfer was the result of criminal activity or an honest, if colossal, mistake. But the missile remains in Cuba, which could share the technology with U.S. rivals like China, Russia or North Korea.