Iraq was holding high hopes for the spring offensive against Mosul, right up until it was cancelled as something that they’d obviously lose. Then it was the Iran-backed attack on Tikrit, which Iraqi officials hyped right up until their defeat last week.
Plan A and Plan B both out the window, Iraq is looking to develop a Plan C, which they are confident will be foolproof. The plan is to move into ISIS territories, surround their important possessions, and hold.
This appears to even more heavily depend on the use of Shi’ite militias to help with the occupation of the area surrounding these ISIS hubs. Unspoken in this is that those hubs are exclusively in Sunni areas, so they’re putting those militias on the ground in Sunni territory, come what may.
And what may isn’t hard to see. Abuses by the militias have been heavily documented, though the Iraqi government still claims they’re “just investigating.” At times they’ve practically wiped out Sunni villages, and this new conquer and hold strategy is likely to be heavy on the siege mentality, making harsh treatment of the locals even easier to get away with.