Gunmen of the “Islamic State” née ISIS (or ISIL) have defeated the Iraqi military and its Shi’ite militia allies at Tikrit:
RBIL, Iraq — Islamic State gunmen overran a former U.S. military base early Friday and killed or captured hundreds of Iraqi government troops who’d been trying to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, the worst military reversal Iraqi troops have suffered since the Islamist forces captured nearly half the country last month.
The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.
Instead, Islamic State forces turned back the army’s thrust up the main highway Wednesday. Beginning late Thursday, the Islamist forces stormed Camp Speicher, a former U.S. military base named for a pilot who disappeared during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and overwhelmed the troops there.
The latest failed Tikrit offensive and the loss of Camp Speicher highlight the deteriorating condition of the Iraqi armed forces. The military has been forced to cobble together units since at least four of its 15 regular army divisions are no longer viable. The Long War Journal estimates that at least seven divisions have been rendered ineffective since the beginning of the year; see Threat Matrix report, US advisers give dark assessment of state of Iraqi military.
IMO this marks the end of the Iraqi military as a cohesive fighting force. I do not believe they will be able to oppose the “Islamic State” in its home Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq any further.
The question going forward is what the “Islamic State” will do next. My guess is that they’ll continue to consolidate their gains in western Iraq for a short period before moving on to Baghdad.