While the swift seizure of Mosul, Tikrit, and Bayji by ISIS threw a lot of people into panic, the situation in Iraq now appears to be settling into a longer, more drawn-out struggle along sectarian and territorial lines.  From several reports, many of ISIS’ initial lightning successes were definitely facilitated by Iraqi Army commanders in the north ordering their men to withdraw.  Whether by design from inside or not, the majority of the Army in the north appears to have been Sunni, and unwilling to fight for the majority-Shi’a government.

While initial reports were that ISIS had taken Tal Afar, in subsequent days the ISF has effectively fought back, to the point that as of June 21, while it was unclear just how much of the city is controlled by either side, both ISF and ISIS control portions of Tal Afar, and fighting continues.  Samarra has seen back-and-forth fighting in the last week, as well, in spite of initial reports that it had been taken.

Bayji, site of the largest oil refinery in Iraq, has apparently traded hands several times over the last week.  While ISF reportedly withdrew from the Bayji oil refinery on June 10, by June 18 it was being reported that the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service was in control of the refinery, when ISIS gunmen, with mortar support, attacked it.  Attacks have continued over the following days, with Iraqi air assets conducting air strikes in the vicinity of the refinery, and several infantry and suicide bombing attacks mounted by ISIS.  As of last reports, the refinery is still contested.

ISIS has expanded its offensive in western Al Anbar, seizing the border crossing with Syria at Al Qaim, while ISF reinforcements have moved into the town.  Rawa and Ana are reported to have been taken by ISIS, though there are conflicting reports as to whether the IA and IP fought, or left their posts.  There are also reports that ISIS has taken al Rutba, and now holds all the border crossings in western Al Anbar.