Iraq Situation Report
ISIS targeted the Samarra Askari Shrine in an effort to divert ISF resources from Tikrit or Baghdad. The mobilization of the Sadrist Brigades to Samarra and the increase in murders in Baghdad are indications of escalated Shi’a militia activity. Tribes in Haditha may be negotiating the peaceful occupation of the city by ISIS and other armed groups. Upon establishing control of Haditha, ISIS will likely attempt to seize control of Ramadi and declare total control over Anbar province.
ISIS may be launching a renewed military offensive to take control of all urban centers in Anbar Province, beginning with Haditha and moving toward Ramadi. The Haditha Dam is a critical element of Iraq’s infrastructure, which ISIS and other anti-government groups may use to obstruct ISF mobility in Anbar, much like the Fallujah Dam in April 2014.
ISIS has declared a Caliphate, indicating that all Muslims should now submit to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Caliph. Meanwhile, the ISF counter-offensive against ISIS in Tikrit continues, despite conflicting reports that either the ISF or ISIS now control the city.
The ISF have launched two separate oensives against ISIS in Tikrit and Mosul.
The Iraqi government is preparing defenses for the Battle of Baghdad as Ramadan approaches. The government’s plan will also likely include the deployment of Iraqi Shi’a militias. ISIS’s gains in Ramadi indicate the increasing threat to the city.
ISIS resumed its effective spectacular attacks in Baghdad, which had dropped since the fall of Mosul. The mobilization of Iraqi Shi'a militias and deployment of CTS in Baghdad organization have not neutralized ISIS’ attack capabilities in the capital.
ISIS is pursuing objectives closer to Baghdad, attacking Balad Airbase while maneuvering around the facility. This will impede the ability of IA Aviation to support isolated ISF contingents. ISIS most likely activated a contingent previously placed in the vicinity of Balad. If successful, ISIS could gain important military and aviation assets at the base.
ISIS has not culminated. ISIS has shifted its efforts toward western Iraq, and the fall of border crossings in Anbar to ISIS is a sign of the further collapse of the Iraqi state.