Iraqi troops continue to battle ISIS fighters around Tikrit today, showing little sign of gaining serious ground and conceding that there are too many bombs and booby traps to quickly take the city.
Iraq began the offensive, backed by Iran, weeks ago, but this quickly stalled at the city. Iraqi officials then decided to trade Iranian aid for American warplanes, which US officials loudly crowed about.
But is it changing the situation on the ground? It’s not clear. The US is providing different aid, warplanes instead of artillery, but neither seems to be wrapping up the battle for Tikrit in any reasonable time-frame.
That’s potentially a huge problem in the ISIS war, despite Iraqi officials continuing to predict imminent victory both in Tikrit and nationwide. If Iraq is struggling so desperately with Tikrit, a much bigger and more robustly defended city like Mosul must be far outside their reach.