American strategy in Iraq and Syria continues to suffer from a fatal flaw. President Obama explicitly ordered that it focus only on “degrading” and “destroying” the Islamic State to the exclusion of any other American national security interests and regardless of the likelihood of the long-term success of any such effort undertaken in isolation. As a result, the strategy has achieved some limited successes against the Islamic State, but those isolated successes are coming at the expense of other important American security concerns. The current approach, in
On November 14, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) which include Iraqi Shi’a militias were able to achieve significant advances against the Islamic State of Iraq al-Sham (ISIS) in the strategic town of Baiji in Salah ad-Din province in northern Iraq. Baiji has been under the control of ISIS since June of this year and is also home to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, the Baiji Refinery which has endured a five-month long ISIS siege.