Iraq Status

At this point the campaign against DAESH in Iraq appears to be stalled or, at the very least, inhaling. Here’s how things stand at this point.

The campaign to unseat DAESH in Tikrit in Anbar province is paused:

Operations by Iraqi forces to capture Tikrit from Islamic State militants have been temporarily halted to allow civilians to leave the city, the country’s interior minister said.

Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban said the offensive, which started early this month, has achieved 90% of its objectives and squeezed the militants into a small part of the city center.

Speaking Monday, al-Ghabban said that extremists from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, had booby-trapped buildings in the center of the city and that Iraqi forces, backed by Shiite militias and Iranian advisers, had slowed their push to reduce their casualties, protect the infrastructure and allow residents to leave.

That’s the benign interpretation of what’s happening. There are others, for example it might be that the leaders of the pro-government forces just don’t know what to do at this point and are trying to make up their minds.

in Ramadi DAESH is intensifying its efforts:

(Bloomberg) — Islamic State militants have increased their attacks to capture Ramadi since Iraq began a military operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Salahuddin province, said Faleh al-Issawi, deputy chief of the Anbar provincial council.

The group has hit Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, with 150 mortar shells and attacked security forces with 23 car bombings since Wednesday, al-Issawi said in a telephone interview Saturday.

Ramadi is an hour and a half by truck from Baghdad.

The pro-government forces’ campaign to re-take Mosul has not yet begun. There are reports that Muslawi are attempting to flee the city but that’s been true for some time.

1 comment… add one
  • Andy Link

    Da’ish really peaked late last summer and they’ve lost some ground since then, mainly in Iraq. But I wouldn’t expect a lot of major changes soon. The lines are, not coincidentally, drawn roughly along ethnic and sectarian boundaries and for either side to make lasting inroads will be difficult (to say the least) particularly due to outside support to the various groups.

    Still, Da’ish faces the biggest challenge going forward because it is so far incompetent at actually governing the areas it does control and it does not enjoy overt state support unlike the Kurds (US) and the “Iraqi” government (US, Iran). Given these two factors Da’ish cannot make much progress in Iraq (Syria is another story, but Da’ish faces problems there too) though they can still wage unconventional warfare and terrorism in Baghdad and elsewhere. The “Caliphate” will continue powered by a blood and fear. Da’ish expected a great immigration once the Caliphate was established, but so far all they’ve gotten are young, angry people willing to kill and die and not the various professionals and educated people needed to run and administer a state.

    On the other hand, the Shia and Kurd dominated factions cannot really take over the Sunni-dominated areas either. The minor factions are either fleeing or forming their own militias. Basically, “Iraq” over the next four years will likely resemble “Syria” over the last four.

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