“By numbers alone, the first major Iraqi offensive against ISIS should have been a romp. Yet the fight to retake this city 90 miles north of Baghdad has been a slog, partly because of such immeasurable factors as motive, incentives, and ideological commitment. Sunni militants loyal to ISIS have repeatedly demonstrated more discipline and greater devotion, in Iraq and in Syria, than their rivals,” writes Robin Wright in the Wall Street Journal.

“The key to defeating ISIS must be a systematic and sustained drone air campaign in support of Kurdish and Iraqi forces—in effect a high-tech upgrading of a proven battlefield strategy first employed by George Patton’s Third Army during World War II and by U.S. Marines in Korea,” write Arthur Herman and William Luti at Defense One.

“The battle for Tikrit has brought into sharp focus the role played by Iran in fighting ISIL in Iraq. Iran has reportedly funded, trained and equipped many of these militias, and has sent dozens of senior military commanders to advise the Popular Mobilisation fighters. As a result, Iraq’s militias are armed with weapons that the Iraqi military has not possessed in large quantities since 2003, when the US-led invasion of Iraq destroyed much of the country’s military arsenal,” writes Suadad al-Salhy in Al Jazeera