Hassan Hassan writes: The war against ISIL is changing, and how its opponents adapt will be a key test of the group’s ability to achieve its goals.
A string of attacks and counter-attacks over the course of this year so far signal a major shift in the way the group is conducting its military operations, leaning back on insurgency tactics it used when US troops were still present in Iraq.
The change comes amid widespread perception in western capitals that the group is now on the back foot. But it also follows a variety of crises – financial and political – that may cause deeper western involvement in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts.
Last Sunday, the group launched an assault inside the city of Abu Ghraib, 15 kilometres from Baghdad International Airport. More than 50 people were killed and the attack was repelled. In the process, the militants reportedly controlled the grain silo in Khan Dhari and took with them a dozen lorries full of badly needed grain into besieged Fallujah, which is around 30 kilometres away. [Continue reading…]