“The battle of Anbar will not be easy. The province constitutes about one-third of Iraq territory and borders the provinces of Babil, Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, Salahuddin and Mosul as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Anbar has been a semi-permanent hub for extremist organizations since 2003. Its geographic complexity, expansive deserts and multiple borders make the task of securing it difficult as well as risky,” writes Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Al-Monitor.
“Isis has revealed an ability to combine a medieval, even pre-medieval, mindset with 21st century technology. It has also shown itself cannily able to manipulate and exploit western media thinking. Its release of beheading videos present open societies with a dilemma. If you do not report the killings, you are imposing censorship and covering up crimes; if you do report them, and post the videos or even a single picture, you are doing the group’s propaganda bidding,” writes Mary Dejevsky in the Guardian.
“The current U.S. strategy is designed to help the war against ISIS in Iraq. But it will likely backfire as the war there takes on an increasingly sectarian tinge. Even the plan to train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, according to one source in Washington, is meant to help guard the borders between Syria and Iraq rather than to aid in a strategy to dislodge ISIS in Syria. Fighting ISIS in Syria itself would be a better bet,” writes Hassan Hassan in Foreign Affairs.