Iraqi Troops Move on Anbar, But Scope Unclear

PM Vows to 'Liberate' Massive Province Entirely

The Iraqi military has launched its offensive against the Anbar Province, which is largely held by ISIS, and Prime Minister Hayder Abadi has promised to quickly “liberate” the province in its entirety.

Despite the vow of a massive victory, it is unclear that Iraq has even sent a significant number of troops into Anbar yet, with reports of a few mortar skirmishes with ISIS and not much else.

The looming question for the Anbar battle is how involved the Shi’ite militias will be. Those militias have done the heavy lifting in battles against ISIS, but in the overwhelmingly Sunni province they may fuel more sectarian unrest.

The US has been urging Iraq to use Sunni tribal factions primarily for the battle in Anbar, though it is unclear at this point, given the increasingly sectarian nature of the war, how many are even left to bring on board for the attack.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.