Iraqi forces, backed by armed Shia brigades, have taken a town just outside of Tikrit, in Sulemaniya province in northern Iraq.  This Military action by the Iraqi government in Baghdad is part of a thrust to the north to take back the territory gained by the Islamic State last year, in its lightning offensive that took everyone by surprise.

Islamic State, also know as ISIL, controls much of the territory in northern Syria and Iraq. With its de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State triumphed in a series of blitzkriegs across Syria and Iraq.

In Iraq's case, it was the unwillingness of the Iraqi army to take on the IS which helped the IS seize the parts of Iraq, with towns like Mosul and Tikrit falling easily.

In northern Syria, it seems that the Syrian forces, for reasons best known to themselves, also fell back under the onslaught of the Islamic State.  Islamic State captured many weapons from both Syrian and Iraqi forces, like tanks, humvees, aircraft, anti-aircraft weapons, missiles systems and high-tech weaponry (some supplied by the West in Iraq's case) and were able to deploy them on the battlefield.

Of course, the West suddenly woke up and could not let this situation stand and have been bombing Islamic State where ever they may be, around the clock with the help of Arab countries.

 Kurdish Peshmerga forces have also been carrying on a fightback against IS and so it is only right and proper that the invigorated Iraqi military should try to take back land from IS.

Western, and more notably US forces, may not be on the ground helping anti-IS forces in large numbers, but it is rumoured there are around 300 American special forces in Baghdad, possibly assisting the Iraqi command of its forces on the ground.

The Islamic State has had a run of success in its quick seizure of lands to make up its Caliphate, headed by an ex-Al Qaeda operative Al - Baghdadi.  It has now, however, suffered reverses to its expansionist ideas by the likes of Peshmerga forces and Iraqi government forces, which in a way parallels Japan in Word War 2.

Japan also had a quick and effective land grab to the astonishment of their enemies. However, as was the case with Japan, which overextended its forces and was fighting enemies on all fronts, today this seems to be the situation with IS.  

The war against Japan in the Pacific was met with a fanatical resistance by the Japanese forces in their battle against the allies, nevertheless, they were defeated, not counting the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The forces on Japanese soil were essentially defeated in conventional military terms. The same seems to be happening to the Islamic State: the Anti-IS forces will meet fanatical resistance and defeating IS may take some time, but in the end, if the anti-Islamic State forces stay on track - defeat will be the ultimate price IS will pay.

One thing is for sure - in fighting Islamic State, the West has unofficially climbed into bed with Iran. It is ironic how bitterly opposed and divided the West has been regarding Iran since the revolution in 1979, but history has some strange twists and turns, with Iran and the West now fighting a common enemy. As the war against IS progresses, this new unofficial accord with Iran may have interesting after-effects for the region and the world.