Conflict update, October 29

Iraq It took a few days, but the predominantly-Shiʿa Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have now joined the Mosul offensive. With regular Iraqi forces pushing toward Mosul from the south and Kurdish Peshmerga advancing from the east and north, the PMU are being deployed to the west to capture surrounding towns and fully encircle the city.… Continue reading Conflict update, October 29

The problem with proxies

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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Over the weekend, ISIS finally completed its capture of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s (if it can even still be said to be part of Iraq) Anbar Province. You may recall that a few weeks ago, Martin Dempsey argued that Ramadi wasn’t as important as, say, the oil refinery at Baiji, and in a sense… Continue reading Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Winning a battle at the cost of the war

The good news in Iraq is that the Iraqi army, with outside assistance, was finally able to dislodge ISIS from the city of Tikrit last week in what is easily the paramilitary group’s worst defeat since its major Iraqi offensive began early last year. It’s almost always better to win a battle than to lose… Continue reading Winning a battle at the cost of the war

Iraq: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Forward: Kurdish forces liberated Sinjar and saved a whole bunch of Yazidis from their desperate straits in the mountains around the town. Back: ISIS has probably regained control of the key refinery town of Baiji from the Iraqi army, though while they likely have retaken the town it’s not clear that they’ve captured the refinery… Continue reading Iraq: 2 steps forward, 1 step back