The Financial Times quotes Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Ramzy Mardini on the takeover of a key oil refinery from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham by Iraqi forces:

It also underscored Isis’s battlefield weaknesses. “Isis is overstretched and invested in too many fronts simultaneously,” said Ramzy Mardini, an analyst at the Middle East centre of the Atlantic Council, a Washington think-tank. “The costs of holding territory for Isis only increases through the course of the civil war. Offensive power is different than staying power. Isis certainly has demonstrated the former, but lacks the latter.”


Mr Mardini cautioned that Isis will probably regroup and attempt to retake Baiji, posing yet another test for Iraqi forces.

“It’s important that Iraqi forces are able to definitively secure and defend the refinery from an Isis counteroffensive,” he said. “Only then is it safe to say that Isis has lost territory and distinguish it as a victory from the cycle of exchanging hands.” 

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