"The Battle For Baghdad" - A Backgrounder On ISIS' Grand Plan

Tyler Durden's picture

It is no secret that the extremist al-Qaeda Jihadist group known as ISIS for short, which in the span of weeks has overrun the northern part of Iraq, has grand ambitions to not only preserve its power in the north and central regions, as well as the border with Syria, but to ultimately proceed south where not only Baghdad is located but also the great energy infrastructure of the country: "the grand prize" for ISIS as it would make the extremist group viable and financially self-sustaining.

But how and when will this "Battle for Baghdad" take place?

For the answer we go to a backgrounder prepared by the Institute for the Study of War titled, as expected, "ISIS Battle Plan for Baghdad" which lays it out in detail.

* * *

There are indications that ISIS is about to launch into a new offensive in Iraq. ISIS published photos of a military parade through the streets of Mosul on June 24, 2014 showcasing U.S. military equipment, including armored vehicles and towed artillery systems. ISIS reportedly executed another parade in Hawijah on June 26, 2014.2 These parades may be a demonstration of force to reinforce their control of these urban centers. They may also be a prelude to ISIS troop movements, and it is important to anticipate where ISIS may deploy these forces forward. Meanwhile, ISIS also renewed the use of suicide bombers in the vicinity of Baghdad. An ISIS bomber with a suicide vest (SVEST) attacked the Kadhimiya shrine in northern Baghdad on June 26, 2014,3 one of the four holy sites in Iraq that Iran and Shi’a militias are most concerned to protect. ISIS also incorporated an SVEST into a complex attack in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, on June 25, 2014 in a zone primarily controlled by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Shi’a militias on the road from Baghdad to Karbala.4 These attacks are demonstrations that ISIS has uncommitted forces in the Baghdad  Belts that may be brought to bear in new offensives. ISIS’s offensive has not culminated, and the ISIS campaign for Iraq is not over. Rather, as Ramadan approaches, their main offensive is likely imminent.

ISIS seeks to create an Islamic Emirate that overcomes the modern states of Iraq and Syria. The Syrian war began without ISIS, but ISIS succeeded in instigating a sectarian war in Iraq in order to destabilize the state. ISIS has systematically targeted sectarian fault lines in Iraq over the past two years in order to precipitate a civil war, but ISIS also intends to break the Iraqi state permanently so that it cannot recover. This is essential in order to protect the Islamic Emirate from external attack. ISIS may not seek to make Baghdad its capital; Baghdad is far from the center of Iraq’s Sunni heartland and sits along the contested corridor that separates the Sunni and Shi’a majority lands in Iraq. Rather, ISIS likely seeks to destroy the government of Iraq, to destroy the Iraqi Army, and to ensure that Baghdad does not remain a viable Shi’a capital. It is more reasonable to expect that ISIS has a battle plan for Baghdad than to presume that ISIS would not create one because they recognize how difficult the task of controlling the city.

ISIS now has artillery and other indirect fire capability, in addition to heavy machine guns. This is visible in their social media coverage of their acquisitions in Ninewa. ISIS can induce a surface-to-air threat against IA aircraft at Balad Airbase, Taji Base, and Baghdad International Airport that effectively neutralizes Iraq’s air assets. ISIS can also attack fortified positions in downtown Baghdad through medium-range direct fire via the artillery pieces it has seized. ISIS likely intends to strike the Green Zone and other fortress targets that have adequate ground protection. ISIS likely has presence inside Baghdad that can facilitate accurate fire through visual observation, and the emergence of SVESTS on June 26 in lieu of the more detectable SVBIEDs likely illustrates its adaptation to the new Shi’a militia environment. ISIS may also layer explosive attacks through SVBIEDs against checkpoints or infrastructure in order to open temporary movement corridors that will permit ground assault against targets in Baghdad. ISIS may still be designing and sequencing its plan for Baghdad, but from a threat perspective, the most dangerous outcomes that ISIS could precipitate against U.S. interests in Baghdad are feasible. ISIS’s revived capability for spectacular attacks in Baghdad and its ability to harness medium range artillery comes just as the U.S. has placed 300 personnel in country, in addition to those essential personnel already stationed at the Embassy. There is no safe place in Baghdad against the threat of ISIS.

A ground campaign to deny Ramadi and Baghdad to ISIS in the near term and to begin to retake lost territory is critical to overcome the offensive spirit and message of victory that are currently fueling ISIS. The Sunni population in Iraq may very well unite in order to counter ISIS deep within the Sunni heartland if they perceive that ISIS can be defeated, and that their tribes will be protected from ISIS and Iran. The Sunnis are not looking to the government of Iraq for these assurances right now, because they perceive more than ever that Maliki’s government is part of an Iranian axis. Syrian air strikes into Iraq’s Sunni lands only underscore this point. With no army to protect them, and no army that can outmatch ISIS on the ground, the Sunnis are faced with an existential crisis on two-fronts: the threat of ISIS, and the threat of Iran, both assaulting Iraq’s Sunnis with military force. The war in Iraq and the war in Syria have the potential to engulf the region, while ISIS usurps the terrain lost by states that may never recover their former likeness.

* * *

There is much more in the full report below (pdf link):

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Duc888's picture




....so who paid these guys?

 Who trained them?

Follow the money hunny.


localsavage's picture

Oh snap....Is it the same guys who provided all of the "pilots" on 9/11?

mkkby's picture

Let them have the shit hole Iraq.  Let them create their radical muslim state.  Let all the radical muslims go there.  Then easy to surround and nuke from space, the only way to be sure.

benb's picture

Wake up Black Swan it's all NWO Theater... if the American people weren't so drugged and brainwashed the murderous pack of dirtbags pulling the strings on this would be swinging from ropes.

Unknown User's picture

ISIS is definitely incapable of planning and executing a surprise blitzkrieg attack without US knowing it. Hell, sins Russia did not do it, US had to. Who else is there? 

Ignatius's picture

I'm given to understand that ISIS tweets.

I'm sure that as soon as the NSA gets done collecting, colating and filing my emails they'll be on the case like stink on shit.

Terminus C's picture

So... we have a map of all their headquarters and troop locations... but we can't stop them?

This article is complete and utter propaganda garbage.  Either they are making shit up or they are showing the 'truth'.  In either case we are being fed a large log of semi diuretic shit.

knukles's picture

So we're back to a buncha rag-heads as an existential threat to freedom, democracy, the United States and the entirety of western civilization.

Fuck 'em.
Leave them alone and they'll fight one another to the death.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Does anybody but me realize that if we leave them alone, go home, they'll forget about us real fucking quick?


PS  As a goodwill gesture, I suggest that we take all the homeless flooding over our borders and send them as gifts to the ISISISICADAETC for remedial training , thus killing 2 birds with one stiones.  Why not?  Grand idea!

MeMadMax's picture

^ Hispanics make for shitty fighters however...

Why do you think they come here for?

Never One Roach's picture

That ISIS military map scares the crap out of me, especially that vertical, squiggly line in the center. The dash-dotted one gives me the creeps!

Ignatius's picture

Keep following that squiggly line, it leads to your door!


jeff montanye's picture

the quoted part of the analysis didn't say the threat of isis was existential for the u.s.  it said it was existential for iraq, and it well may be.

certainly parts of the israeli government (where i think we can all agree most of the plans for u.s. policy in this region, at a minimum, originate) want to break iraq into at least three pieces.





"turning the sand into glass", "killing all these ragheads with nuclear airbursts", or even "ignoring them" (and leaving u.s./israel policy intact) etc. etc. etc. is so much silly fantasy.  until zionism, or at least u.s. support for it, is gone, there never will be peace between the muslim world and the u.s.  it really is that simple.

that a dozen of the top twenty largest oil fields by production http://seekingalpha.com/article/159078-worlds-top-producing-oil-nations-... are in territory controlled by muslims is just too bad, apparently.  

someday this country will have to decide between justice and oil on the one hand or zionism on the other.  the day approaches.

knukles's picture

The Neo-Cons were right!  Lose Baghdad and the next thing you know they'll be pouring over our borders.

Think about it for a second. 
Think a little more.
It is true.
The cause and effect are greatly disparate from that usually meant, but they are related with respect to world views.

    - G W Bush (I'm just the messenger, folks)

12ToothAssassin's picture

One obvious point all the talking heads are missing is this: The problem (and benefit to for some) is that terrorists dont occupy territory and are therefore difficult to find and attack. Once a terrorist group defines a territory they can be easily bombed into submission. Why has no one pointed out this obvious problem? Oh right, because then we wouldnt be properly affraid.

12ToothAssassin's picture

Also, Paris 1919 is a must watch for anyone hoping to understand how this mess started: http://tvo.org/video/167453/paris-1919

tonyw's picture

but if "they'll forget about us real fucking quick?" how do you expect our glorious MIC to make an abscene buck or bilion??

We the people need to be terrorised, petrified so that we'll plead for bigger government to "save us" from those real scary folks far far away.

if we can get them they chop a few heads off and roast them even the better to eat you with my dear said the big bad US wolf.

BigJim's picture

 I'm given to understand that ISIS tweets.

I'm sure that as soon as the NSA gets done collecting, colating and filing my emails they'll be on the case like stink on shit.

I do hope the NSA are printing out hard copies of all this stuff. As the IRS illustrated, it's just sooooo easy to lose critical data on hard drives.

sgt_doom's picture

No kidding, you actually heard that, did you?

Anyone with a normal complement of neurons (would that be you?) and a basic reading comprehension should have figured out by this time that this ISIS is one incredibly well-financed, slickly packaged, well branded, operation. Duuuuuh!!!!

Their own line of ISIS t-shirts and cammies?

Putting vids online ever 12 hours of their executions of captured Iraqi soldiers?



CrashisOptimistic's picture

And after the nukes land and irradiate all the territory, where will you find the 3.3 million bpd they flow now and that you HAVE to have.

Urban Redneck's picture

We'll find the 3.3 mbpd we need to get the economy out the ditch right where they we left it. The beauty of an atmospheric (as opposed to surface) detonation is that it blasts the "terrorists" back to the dark ages where they belong with an EMP, and with far less radioactive mess than another Fukushima or Chernobyl. Furthermore, the Arabian Sands will quickly bury the remaining fallout faster than the Washington press corps buries scandalous corruption. Exxon and Halliburton will then march in and know exactly where to drill and have pipelines to pump the liberated oil to the sea. A couple of nukes didn't stop life in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So let me be clear, since the Iraqi oil is currently buried underground deeper than any nuclear fallout shelter, it will be 100% environmentally friendly when we liberate it from those oppressive rock formations.

Baghdad Barack Hussein Cheney, 2015

CrashisOptimistic's picture

You don't know very much about matters military.

No one will accept targetting orders for civilians.  The military targets would be vulnerable to far less than nuclear yields, so there would be no need for airburst configurations.  Conventional weaponry would suffice, without risk to civilians.

So, then you face the officers and order them to target civilians and they will refuse.  Only minimum necessary collateral damage is acceptable in officer training, and given you don't need nuclear weapon yields to destroy the designated targets, the targeting with be rejected.

Urban Redneck's picture

You're the one who took his sarcastic and ludicrous notion of nuking them from space and suggested that it might be some sort of insurmountable obstacle for the all important spice trade. But if you want to deliberately ignore sarcasm and hurl personal insults- I'm happy to expose the limits of your military knowledge, but you might want to start with a more defensible position than strawmen... ("targeting" civilians with nukes, really?)

SF beatnik's picture

First you have to rile up the troops with propaganda, J. Goebbels style.


They are then happy to drop neutron bombs, wiping out most of the human beings but leaving infrastructure undamaged.  


Consider My Lai and also other Viet Nam atrocities like it that were never exposed to view. 


Many ordinary folk back home would applaud such a ballsy foreign policy.


But not far down the road, we ourselves might, in the twinking of an eye, be placed back in the stone age by an EMP attack launched by an unknown perpetrator. 


tonyw's picture

"No one will accept targetting orders for civilians." you are optimistic aren't you?? Nominative determinist by any chance.

Ask the students at Kent State Massacre, oops you can't because they were shot.

Different this time TM Well today the army in ukraine, israel and others don't seem to have much of a problem in shooting civilians.

American exceptionalsim makes it different i suppose?? i for one won't be taking any chances.

They're trained to kill people, that's their job, so it won't be any different.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Curtis LeMay begs to motherfuckin' differ!

Carpenter1's picture

I doubt very much ISIS will attempt ground combat to take Baghdad, they have what, 10-20k fighters? Versus Iraq's 150k plus Iranian, US, and a smattering of other nation's troops, all hardened veterans. 


No, if ISIS has any brains at all they'll use the chemical or possibly nuclear weapons they've conveniently found lying outside their front door with a CIA calling card attached. 

markmotive's picture

World War III will be triggered by some unknown force or unpredictable event.

Today is the 100 year anniversary of the assination of Archduke Ferdinand. This lone act started WWI...which eventually led to WWII.


benb's picture

The wars are staged...all of them. World War I was planned by the same ongoing criminal cabal. If you believe the B.S. propaganda that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand started WWI as taught to the peasants in public schools you're a gonner.

jeff montanye's picture

even though much of war is the result of an ongoing criminal cabal, particularly at present, it is more convincing when you spell goner correctly.  there is a reason spellcheck redlines gonner.

and the miseducated are not actually dead are they?  http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/gonner



Freddie's picture

Doesn't Tyler and many posters here know that ISIS is backed, created by and run by Al See Eye Aye Duh, NWO, McCain, Graham, AIPAC, NeoCons, Saudis, Turkey, Jordan, Israel,  Dems, Obama and brainless Democ rat voters?

Did ISIS do their annual report at a print shop in Langley, VA?  What a joke.  I hope those Syrian pilots with SU 25's blow that hell out of those clowns. 

jeff montanye's picture

what? we're giving the brainless republican and independent voters a pass?

that seems so unfair.  and asymmetrical. 

Aussiekiwi's picture



sorry about the caps.

Hugh G Rection's picture

I'm afraid your phone auto corrected *patsies. If you want to know what guided those planes into the towers, look into Dov Zakheim and System Planning Corp. Then scratch your head about them crossing paths at Stewart AFB, exactly aligned with the 2 runways. If this confuses you read Operation Northwoods, particularly the part regarding a drone aircraft and Elgin AFB.


Baxter's picture

We paid for it.  And our children and our children's children.  But our funds were stolen first!

sgt_doom's picture

Terrorism USA

- - - How much ? ? - - -

Turn on Fox News, and they speak of the "militants of ISIS" --- turn on NPR, and they speak of the "militants of ISIS" - - - WTF?

Where do those jackholes receive their scripts from? We do know it to be the same source or point of origin.

President Obama asks congress for $500 million to train rebels to fight against Assad of Syria - - - yet $7 billion was spent training the Iraqi Army - - - of what use was that?

And who received those $7 billions anyway?

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration continues to suppress the $43 million report on CIA torture (for well over a year now) - - - who received that $43 million, one wonders?

One monetary amount we have yet to hear about is the figure spent on training the Free Syrian Army the past several years in Jordan?

And what become of those so-called rebels? Today they are uniformly referred to by America's CorporateMedia as the "militants of ISIS"!

LetThemEatRand's picture

Lana?  Lana?!  Lanaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danger Zone.

GS-DickinDaMuppets's picture

@LTER, pardon my ignorance, but who/what is LANA?

LetThemEatRand's picture

She works for ISIS.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3-zaTr6OUo

And animated comedy shows are much more interesting to me than anything the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has to say.  Their mission statement:  "The Institute for the Study of War advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization."  

ISW is a thinly veiled Neo-Con think tank.  Take a look at the bios of the "Leadership".  http://www.understandingwar.org/who-we-are


GS-DickinDaMuppets's picture

@LTER, Thanks, ( I think) - very interesting and very sexy girls - even though they are cartoons!  I never know what my mind will be exposed to next on ZH!!!

August's picture

The first casualty of every war is the truth.

This would include the Wars on Terror, Drugs and Poverty, not to mention the various hot, cold and simmering wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ukraine, Serbia et cetera et ad nauseum.

22winmag's picture

Too much rationalizing makes some people believe bombing women and children is okay.

intric8's picture

Fundamentally, this is not about american interests. Our chief priorities lie with americans on their own soil, not in the sands of a faraway nation.

Keep 5000 troops in iraq the cheapest way possible, make friends with iran and ask them to assist and lets get back to addressing the rapid decline our country is facing on all fronts, if thats even possible anymore.

mkkby's picture

Down arrow for being a delusional sheep.  USSR MIC state doesn't make friends and sing koobayah.

intric8's picture

These days we all we can do is dream of how things could be

conscious being's picture

ZATO don't make friends.  ZATO wants to overrun Russia ... again.  So, ZATO and lackeys, like you will not stop the seige warfare.  Hopefully, Vlad's baking a cake with a surprise in it for you.

Watch and see.

SmallerGovNow2's picture

Agree, but not gonna happen.  We still got the Kardashian's YO?

Aussiekiwi's picture

I hear one of them changed their hair color, check it out!

Ness.'s picture

Anyone else notice that the only products stamped Made in the U.S.A these days are funded by the US taxpayer and only used to kill people?