The U.S. escalated its role in the anti-ISIS fight by having U.S. special operators participate in a Peshmerga-led raid under “advise and assist” powers near Hawija in southwestern Kirkuk.
Russia’s recent intervention in Syria will generate more opportunities for the Islamic State than it quells. If the Islamic State’s core defenses around major cities in Iraq and Syria hold, the Islamic State will weather Russia’s intervention and likely emerge stronger. New via West Point Combating Terrorism Center: The Sentinel
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Iranian proxy militias have made rapid progress in Baiji.
Two parallel security operations by anti-ISIS forces are underway in Iraq, one in Ramadi that is led by the Iraqi Security Forces with U.S.-led coalition support, and one that is led by Iranian agents in Baiji.
The Russian formation of a coordination cell in Baghdad is an inflection point aimed at undercutting U.S. influence over the direction of the anti-ISIS efforts in Iraq and Syria. However, the Russian footprint in Iraq is much smaller than in Syria, while U.S. influence over the ISF and Iraqi state are much greater than U.S. influence in Syria. The U.S.
ISIS claimed a VBIED attack in a market area in Zubair, south of Basra, as part of its longstanding Wilayat Janub, which previously claimed attacks primarily in areas south of Baghdad, including Jurf al-Sakhar.
Russian involvement in Iraq has prompted U.S. concerns that Iraqi officials may be sharing classified information with Russia and Iran amid a significant increase in Russian activity in Syria.
An anonymous senior U.S. official stated that “low-level Russian generals” had established a “coordination cell” in Baghdad with Syrian and Iranian military commanders to coordinate the activities of Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi’a militias in Iraq.
ISF operations to recapture Ramadi remain stalled, but remain the ISF’s main effort.