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IS withdrawal strategy calls for creation of local defense forces

To fight the Islamic State, the Iraqi government should create Sunni local defense forces, similar to the Kurdish peshmerga forces, even though this might be at the expense of the government’s unity.
Tribal fighters and members of Iraqi security forces take part in an intensive security deployment on the outskirts of Diyala province June 14, 2014. The insurgent offensive that has threatened to dismember Iraq spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when Sunni militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border, clashing with police and government forces. Picture taken June 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3TVVI

During the weeks that followed the incursion of the Islamic State (IS) into Mosul and its expansion toward other Iraqi cities, which resulted in the withdrawal of Iraqi security and military forces as well as the Kurdish peshmerga, talks about “tactical withdrawal” prevailed. Every party, namely the Iraqi forces, the Kurdish peshmerga and IS, claimed to have tactically withdrawn from Anah in western Iraq.

Iraqi and peshmerga forces did not exert real effort in the fight to win back the territories they lost up until the US intervention on Aug. 8. Similarly, IS militants did not fiercely fight to control the cities and villages they entered.

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