The fronts that the Islamic State (IS) seems insistent on opening in the south and west of Baghdad appear to be linked to the current US-led airstrikes that are being launched against the organization in Iraq and Syria.

According to local inhabitants in Mosul and Anbar, the main weakness IS can turn to its advantage is the Sunni gunmen originating from tribes and former armed groups. Their final position on whether they will join the international alliance or fight alongside IS is not yet known.

This issue is sensitive for IS, whose basic strategy relies on persuading local Sunni inhabitants that they may become subject to a revenge attack by Iran through the Shiite militias, on the one hand, and to an attack by the “infidel crusaders,” represented by Western countries and America, on the other. But a tendency among the active Sunni clans and armed groups represents a key danger for IS. […]