With Iraq’s military spending the week pushing an offensive against Kurdish Peshmerga fores, ISIS has taken the opportunity to launch an offensive of its own, seizing multiple villages south of Kirkuk, which were no longer defended.
The area the ISIS forces attacked is near Hawija, a city they held for a long time, and its likely ISIS fighters who fled the city were still in the vicinity, waiting for an opportunity to counter-attack.
The US has been pushing Iraq not to continue its offensive with the Kurds, specifically on the fear that it would distract from fighting ISIS. Analysts, however, say they believe that Iraq’s priority is completely with fighting the Kurds now.
“I don’t think it cares if ISIS pops up here and there as long as it doesn’t threaten non-Kurdish areas,” insisted Michael Pregent from the Hudson Institute. Iraqi officials haven’t commented on the matter, but it does seem their focus remains on pushing against the Kurds.
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