On June 24, ISW assessed that the area of Udhaim was cleared by the ISF and Iraqi Shi’a militias. On July 28, however, the Defense Ministry announced the start of an operation that has thus far cleared three villages and remains ongoing. The operation appears to be prompted by an increasing number of clashes and IEDs emplaced in the city, which indicates a level of ISIS access to the area that challenges full ISF control. ISW is therefore changing the status of Udhaim from ISF controlled to contested.
The primary metric in war is attaining one’s strategic aims. In the post-9/11 war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, who is winning? Both the U.S. and al Qaeda have done a lot of killing, but attrition alone is not decisive. The U.S. is now on its third strategy in this war. This strategy seems as unlikely to attain America’s strategic aims as the previous two.