Iraq Situation Report: August 5, 2014

August 5, 2014 - Institute for the Study of War

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan and the leader of the KDP, Masoud Barzani, issued orders for the Peshmerga to take an offensive role against ISIS. 

Control of Terrain in Iraq: August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014 -

There were unconfirmed reports that ISIS took Mosul Dam yesterday. It is unlikely that the Peshmerga would surrender this critical piece of infrastructure, hence the deployment of Peshmerga reinforcements to the dam that was reported today.

Iraq Situation Report: August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014 -

ISIS took control of the Sinjar district yesterday, while hundreds of families fled the area to the nearby Sinjar Mountain.

Iraq Situation Report: August 3, 2014

August 3, 2014 -

ISIS has launched a new offensive in northern Iraq to take control of Sinjar and other critical terrain in Kurdish areas north and west of Mosul. 

Iraq Situation Report: August 2, 2014

August 2, 2014 -

Clashes between ISIS and Peshmerga forces in Zammar and Jalula indicate an attempt by ISIS to secure the areas that it is contesting against Kurdish troops.

Iraq Situation Report: August 1, 2014

August 1, 2014 -

ISIS continues to attack the Baiji oil refinery with the intent to complete its control of Baiji city.

ISIS Governance in Syria

August 1, 2014 -

By Charles C. Caris & Samuel Reynolds
The Islamic State’s June 2014 announcement of a “caliphate” is not empty rhetoric. In fact, the idea of the caliphate that rests within a controlled territory is a core part of ISIS’s political vision. The ISIS grand strategy to realize this vision involves first establishing control of terrain through military conquest and then reinforcing this control through governance. This grand strategy proceeds in phases that have been laid out by ISIS itself in its publications, and elaborates a vision that it hopes will attract both fighters and citizens to its nascent state. The declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, however, raises the question: can ISIS govern?

Iraq Situation Report: July 31, 2014

July 31, 2014 -

Although ISIS has had experience in governing urban centers in Syria and Iraq before, the City of Mosul is the largest and most developed area now under ISIS control now.

The Islamic State: A Counter-Strategy for a Counter-State

July 31, 2014 - Jessica D. Lewis

by Jessica D. Lewis

Many have asked what needs to be done about the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the terrorist organization that recently took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Questions range from the acceptability of airstrikes and the viability of a national unity government in Iraq to the feasibility of a counter-offensive that depends upon the remaining capacity of the Iraq Security Forces. These are important and worthy questions, and timely, because ISIS is growing stronger. But these questions preempt the rigorous analysis that is required in order to determine what the U.S. should do about ISIS and why.

Iraq Situation Report: July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014 -

ISIS is aiming to establish normalcy in areas where it has control in Iraq. Hosting fairs and Eid celebrations represents an attempt to show the “friendly” side of ISIS, publicizing recreational activities rather than an oppressive state.