ISIS in Iraq: The ‘Pause’ IS the Assault on Baghdad


by J.E. Dyer

The media refrain from the last 24 hours has been that ISIS is pausing in its sweep to the south toward Baghdad. At least some of the mobile forces that entered Mosul the weekend of 7-8 June took off again at a trot, heading south through the Tigris River corridor and seizing Tikrit by Tuesday, scattering terrified Iraqis and foreign workers in their path. But since then, ISIS hasn’t made further southerly progress through the Tigris corridor toward Baghdad.

The media have half-heartedly attributed this slowdown to force deployments by the Iraqi government, which have been accompanied by a few attacks on ISIS from the air. But I think the journalists know this doesn’t really explain the slowdown, even if they can’t articulate why.

For one thing, ISIS doesn’t have to fight anywhere it doesn’t want to. It’s waging a sort of guerrilla blitzkrieg right now, but unlike a massive armor and mechanized infantry force, it leaves no deployed men and equipment around, grouped in large formations that make attractive military targets. Indeed, worse than not presenting a conventional military profile, ISIS seizes control of urban enclaves and forces the opponent to attack the people’s homes and businesses, if he wants to attack ISIS.

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