Iraqi Commanders Urge New Tactics as Baiji Offensive Stalls

Troops Struggle to Cope With ISIS Guerrilla Tactics

A couple of weeks ago, Iraqi officials began touting gains in Baiji, the site of the nation’s largest oil refinery. These claims were taken with a grain of salt, of course, since Baiji has been contested between them and ISIS for a solid year.

Army and police commanders today are confirming that they really need some new tactics, and that they really can’t defeat ISIS the way things stand simply by throwing endless reinforcements after the strategically important town.

They are professionals in guerrilla warfare, contrary to our forces which follow an old fighting style,” noted Brig. Gen. Nasir al-Fartousi, the commander of forces in charge of retaking Baiji, saying the troops are struggling to cope with the hit and run tactics of the ISIS forces inside the town.

Fartousi noted that Iraqi troops will get shot at my ISIS forces, try to chase them down a street, and start taking fire from a completely different direction, saying the rank-and-file soldiers were never trained to handle these sorts of tactics and are having a hard time getting up to speed.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.