Iraqi Army Launches New Security Campaign in Anbar Desert
The Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced on Saturday the start of the fourth phase of the Will of Victory Operation to hunt down remnants of ISIS militants in the desert of Iraq's western province of Anbar.
A statement issued by the JOC media office said: "the fourth phase of this operation was launched at dawn on Saturday, to search and clear the entire desert and the regions in Anbar province from the ISIS remnants.”
It said the operation was under the direction of the commander in chief of the armed forces and the supervision of the joint operations command and came after the third phase of the Will of Victory Operation achieved its objectives accurately and successfully.
The troops concluded the third phase of the major offensive in the provinces of Nineveh and Diyala on Aug. 5.
In this regard, Army Chief of Staff Othman Al-Ghanmi praised the command and high coordination unit between the army and the PMF in the process of the will victory.
Ghanmi said elements from the Army and PMF are now positioned in the desert of Wadi Houran, advancing together to chase down the ISIS remnants.
The Chief of Staff’s comments signal the presence of a dispute between the Army and Hashd al-Shaabi about the explosions that lately targeted PMF positions and not the Army.
In this regard, security expert Dr. Moataz Mohiuddin, Director of the Center of the Republic of Strategic Studies, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the quick attacks used by ISIS in Iraq before 2014, are not possible anymore after the JOC leadership had targeted several positions controlled by the militants in several parts of the country.
“The Americans lately informed the Iraqi side that ISIS remnants became very close to the cities,” Mohiuddin said, adding that the JOC would launch other operations to chase down the militias from other Iraqi areas.