Writing on Al Jazeera, I argue that ISIL’s current battlefield losses will not automatically translate into meaningful gains for the coalition.
‘The battle to recapture Fallujah from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has gathered momentum, with thousands of government-linked forces encircling the strategic town, supported from the air and advised on the ground by the United States-led anti-ISIL coalition.
It is worth recalling that Fallujah was the first Iraqi city to fall to ISIL (also known as ISIS) in January 2014 – a defeat that starkly reflected political failure in Iraq, more than anything else.
In the year leading up to the ISIL takeover, Anbar province was engulfed by popular demonstrations against the marginalisation and brutalisation of Sunnis.
In response, the prime minister of the time, Nouri al-Maliki, called in the armed forces and – on television – described the issue as part of an inescapable religious battle rooted in the 7th century…’