ISIS or Shi’ite Militias: For Central Iraq, It’s a Lose-Lose

Baqubah Caught on the Front Line of Iraq War

The capital of the Diyala Province and just 50 miles northeast of the capital city of Baghdad, Baqubah has found itself in the unenviable position of being the front line of the new Iraq-ISIS War.

In addition to the city of nearly half a million people being stuck in an active combat zone, that means they’re the go-to location for Shi’ite militias aiming to stop the advance on Baghdad, and the most aggressive of ISIS looking to press their offensive.

Baqubah has felt a major toll from Shi’ite militias as well as ISIS predecessor al-Qaeda in Iraq, and was the site of major battles during the US occupation. The story is familiar for local civilians though: no matter who wins, they lose.

Either Baqubah is to remain Iraqi, and by extension likely the front-line of their war, or it falls to ISIS and becomes a staging area for the invasion of Baghdad. In both cases, war has come to Baqubah, and is unlikely to leave any time soon.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of