As I predicted earlier, ISIS are making a push to the Sunni-dominated Diyala province after Salahuddine province.
There is news that Iran are sending in their elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), from areas where they are highly experienced in counter-insurgency operations against Iran's persecuted ethnic minorities. The IRGC are being deployed in Diyala, which borders Iran, Baghdad and Shia holy sites.
Iraq's state-controlled Al-Iraqiya TV (regime propaganda channel IMO) is claiming Tikrit has been recaptured by the IRGC and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF; officially police officers, but under control of Interior Ministry, and trained and armed like soldiers). However, I can't find verifications of these claims elsewhere, as is often the case with Al-Iraqiya TV claims.
This is bound to cause wide-spread anger amongst Sunnis, Tribes, Ba'athists, and perhaps even the Nationalists and Sunni Islamists in Iraq, as well as various other factions in the wider region. However, what significant effect this will have on the trouble, if any, remains to be seen.
^ Believe Adriaan was being ironic.
Thank you for that rich and detailed post D-Ice, all I can do is sigh and shake my head.
One has to question why, all of a sudden, this group is using standard military tactics. Did they all of a sudden get an infusion of cash? They're just brazen about it? Or just want to win quick?
No problem mate, I'm very glad you like my posts and that they're helpful. Sorry if they've been too wordy, I'll try to keep them shorter next time.
As for ISIS' more direct, regular tactics, you summed up the reasons exactly. It has also to do with the strength of opposition.
I'm no expert in military tactics, but I think it is more of a sliding scale with completely regular symmetrical warfare on one end, and completely irregular asymmetrical warfare on the other. For example, even within guerilla warfare, they'll use different levels of "directness" - using ambushes with guns and other weapons if the opposing force is only marginally better, like the rebels in Syria, or IEDs if the opposing force will overpower them even in an ambush, like insurgents against US troops in Iraq.
I think in this case, ISIS sensed the weakness of the ISF, and decided to attack directly.
Not sure if you've heard of this already, but they've interestingly apparantly loot $429 million from Mosul's central bank.
I'm sure that won't create any problems with Turkey.
I would've thought the exact same, until I recently visited some distant relatives in Erbil. Unexpectedly, it seems now that the city's economy is dominated by, and intertwined with Turkey. Most new development in the city are from Turkish firms, from supermarkets and food products, to clothing, to complete massive urban developments of luxury appartments, homes and villas at the edges of the town.
I think it is a very smart move by Turkey after the cessaton of hostilities with the PKK. It allows them to profiteer from Erbil's (and perhaps wider Kurdistan's) development, and prevent further trouble by having a dependant economy in Kurdistan, as well as the likely political influence that'll come with it.
As strange as it sounds in light of recent history, I actually expect Turkey and Kurdistan's interests to be aligned.