In a spectacular feat of tactical brilliance, ISIL has defeated the Iraqi National Army in a battle which took place in Northwestern Baghdad last week; and thereafter proceeded to capture the headquarters of the 26thBrigade – which is located in the Thar Thar area of Fallujah. Official claims are that an unspecified number of Iraqi army troops were killed or wounded during the battle while several others were captured.
Intelligence report shows that most of the ISIL fighters who participated in the battle were stationed in Anbar province and not North Baghdad thus signaling an operational overlap. It also indicates that ISIL possesses adequate capacities to redeploy troops on short notice call to vital theaters of combat.
Intelligence assessments reveal that Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions during the battle as their incompetent leadership hampered battlefield coordination. Present assessments indicate that more than 30 Iraqi soldiers were killed while over 40 others were severely wounded.
Thar Thar area is of strategic military importance as it allows ISIL to resupply its troops, besides allowing the movement of fighters from Anbar province to the beleaguered southern Salahaddin province. The area also allows ISIL to ambush Iraqi army convoys transiting between Samarra and Baghdad. Thar Thar also allows ISIL to commander the adjacent towns of Shabaab, Balad, Taji, Dujail and Ishaqi.
Failure of the US-led coalition offensive to degrade the battlefield capabilities of ISIL showcase an evolved Islamist insurgency immune to short-term counter-terrorism military offensives – a gain that ISIL can extend to other allied Jihadist groups.