The Islamic State Stranglehold On Iraq Is Weakening In Part To Unlikely Allies

It appears that the formula for excising the cancer known as the Islamic State from Iraq may have finally been found. The city of Tikrit was freed from the grasp of the Islamic State earlier this week thanks to a strategy among the nations of the United States, Iran, and Iraq.

The strategy that freed Tikrit from the Islamic State was due to the teamwork of the United States and Iran. Iran supplied Shia militia forces on the ground while the United States dominated from above with air strikes. Iraq functions as a type of liaison between the two strange bedfellow nations.

Earlier this week, a nuclear deal was struck with Iran with the United States leading the negotiation. A deal being struck does not suddenly make Iran and the United States allies though, which is why it is vital that Iraq acts as the go-between in order to destroy the common regional threat of the Islamic State.

The Islamic State has been able to run rampant in Iraq mainly due to the ineptitude of the Iraqi military. Currently, the Islamic State is a superior military adversary for Iraq. Iran’s Shia militia is a far superior fighting force than Iraq has currently, which is why they are needed to drive the Islamic State out of Iraq.

A senior Pentagon official is quoted in the New York Times as saying, “You can see where this going. Are the Iraqi forces ready yet? I would say no.”

What the official means by that quote is that the Iraqi military is not ready to take on the Islamic State alone. If the Iraqis are to get their country back from the Islamic State, then Iran must remain vital to the equation.

In the same New York Times article, James G. Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, also had a quote about the United States and Iran team up against the Islamic State.

“What you are seeing play out is the challenging prospect of creating synergy between two entities, the United States and Iran, who don’t want to work together, who hate each other, but who need each other. But if we’re not going to put ground troops in, then guess what? We’re going to have to occupy the same battle space as the Shia militias.”

Now that Tikrit is no longer in control of the Islamic State, the next city that will need to be freed from them will be Mosul.

Can the same strategy be implemented in Mosul to free the city from the Islamic State?

[IMG Khalid Mohammed Associated Press]