The Road To Mosul, Part One: The battle For Tikrit
Situated some 95 miles north of Baghdad Tikrit is also handily equidistant to Mosul, the IS 'capital' of their self-declared caliphate. This will be the first real test for the forces drawn together by Haider Al-Abadi: a military that fled last year, alongside predominantly Shia militias. How many of the 'misguided' Sunni tribesmen withdraw support for IS as they see this force advance remains to be seen, as reports of militia men 'executing' Sunni civilians continues to appear in the local media.
When human life is at stake there are of course neither easy targets nor easy decisions, but this force needs an 'easy win' to keep the public on their side as they continue north to face the terror groups stronghold. Its heartening to see the Kurdish forces continuing to consolidate their territory around the captured northern city. This will be crucial if, hopefully when, the newly unified Iraqi forces reach the IS battle lines.
Check out the Beeb article for more facts and analysis: