December 1, 2014

TSG IntelBrief: The Caliphate Loses Ground

• The motto of the Islamic State is “remaining and expanding” (B?qiyah wa-Tatamaddad, or ????? ??????); however, after losing control over parts of the Iraqi provinces of Salahuddin and Diyala, the Islamic State is remaining but slowly contracting, though at great cost

• Reports of fierce fighting along the road between Bayji and the all-important oil/gas refinery outside of the town show how determined both the Iraqi government and the Islamic State are to hold the area; the Islamic State has reportedly been pushed out to the northern and western outskirts of the town but is fighting hard to regain control of the refinery road

• Reflecting losses in the province, the leaders of the group have reportedly relinquished administrative control of the “State of Salahuddin” and now labels the areas it still controls as the “State of Southern Mosul”

• The Islamic State will likely need to update its map several more times in the coming six months, as the Iraqi security forces (which includes the Iraqi army, Shi’a militias, Sunni opposition units, and Kurdish peshmerga, along with coalition support) begin to push the terror/insurgent group out of hard-to-defend areas such as additional parts of Diyala and Salahuddin

• The group, however, remains an existential threat to Iraq and is in relatively firm control of Mosul as it continues its bombing campaign against Baghdad.