The fight between the Iraqi government and the Shiite paramilitary forces on one side, and the forces of the Islamic State (IS) on the other, has entered a new phase in the past three months: a transitory balance of power. Paramilitary Shiite forces and the Iraqi army, with the direct support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have managed to drive back the forces of IS in areas bordering Iran as well as areas to the south, east and north of Baghdad. Overconfident after their recent victories, the Shiite forces, under the supervision of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, launched a vast military operation with 30,000 soldiers to reclaim Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein.
The operation to reclaim Tikrit started with active logistic support from the IRGC. Paramilitary Shiite forces, led by Quds Force Cmdr. Soleimani, Badr Brigade Cmdr. Hadi al-Ameri, Imam Ali Brigade Cmdrs. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Shabal al-Zaidi, and the support of Iraqi air forces, managed to liberate areas around Tikrit. However, the Iraqi army command announced that they are halting the operation in Tikrit to avoid more casualties.