Following reports that Iraqi forces, backed by Shi’ite militias, retook the central district of the city of Tikrit, Prime Minister Hayder Abadi took to the state media to claim victory in the month-long battle over the ISIS-held city.
Taking the provincial government headquarters in the city is an accomplishment, to be sure, but US officials in particular thought the declaration was premature, saying they can’t even confirm how much of Tikrit either side controls right now.
This would not be the first time Iraq declared victory in a battle they ultimately lost, and Abadi’s predecessor Nouri al-Maliki declared victory in Tikrit several times in June, before the Iraqi military finally withdrew and left the city to ISIS.
Having once again promised a quick and easy victory, and once again stalled several times in their offensive, Iraq is keen to show some success against ISIS. This may be encouraging them to jump the gun, however, in a battle that is not over.