Here’s the latest from what was once Iraq, where the Maliki government seeks to take back Tikrit from the Islamic State:
Fighters from the group overran the Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10 and have advanced toward Baghdad, prompting the despatch of U.S. military advisers. In Syria, ISIL has captured territory in the north and east, along the desert frontier with Iraq.
The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with the help of Shi’ite sectarian militias, has managed to stop the militants from reaching the capital but security forces have been unable to take back cities they abandoned in the fighting.
The army attempted last week to take back Tikrit but was unable to seize the city. Helicopters hit Islamic State positions around the city overnight. On the southern outskirts, a battle raged into Monday, residents in the areas said.
This might be the first time the Islamic State (the Caliphate formerly known as ISIL) has faced a real challenge to its advance across northern Mesopotamia, so we might find out if they have an actual army or just a mob. It might also serve as a test of the largely Shi’ite Iraqi Army, and whether it will fight for a Sunni town.
I’m thinking though that Muhammed started with less than the IS has, and look how far he went.