June 01, 2015

Its capture is also seen as crucial

Its capture is also seen as crucial for plans to attack IS in Mosul, owing to its position on the main road north to the city from Baghdad.

However, despite the emotion of the moment, the strategic value of this piece of territory is in actual fact mixed.

To the victor of Baiji go the spoils, according to the current narrative of the conflict in Iraq, but this conclusion is questionable given the effort required to take it combined with the equivocal gains.
Disruption not defeat

At the moment, about 200 Iraqi security personnel are besieged inside the sprawling 10-sq-mile (26-sq-km) refinery, where IS fighters might have taken over up to two-thirds, according to reports.

For either side, keeping control of the refinery will come at a cost.

To hold on to Baiji requires personnel and robust logistics support. Even worse for the Iraqis tactically, the fight to hold the refinery tends to favour IS.

As a battlefield it offers all of the complications of urban warfare micro-terrain which allow small, dispersed forces to fight and maintain a presence nearly indefinitely given the lesser demands of such a campaign.

Posted by: lisehwant at 04:19 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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