Haider al-Abadi has been in power since September of 2014, but Sunday saw him take the decision many had been waiting for as he announced an offensive by Iraqi troops into the north to re-capture the city of Tikrit. The hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein has been under IS control since the summer when Iraqi troops were defeated with ease and forced to retreat by extremist fighters. Losing the stronghold of Tikrit was a devastating blow that eventually led to a change in Prime Minister. 

The current offensive is being spearheaded by Iraqi troops, however they are not alone in their mission, they have support from both Shia militia fighters and Sunni tribal fighters that are opposed to the IS extremists.

In addition, the offensive is being supported by both Iran and the US, although only the former are playing an active role. The hope for all parties is that Iraqi forces can take back Tikrit in order to lay the foundations for the big push: re-capturing the country’s second city, Mosul.

While the timeframe is yet to be laid out, insiders at the Pentagon believe that provide Tikrit is won, it is unlikely that troops will be able to launch a further offensive on Mosul before the upcoming autumn. For the moment the Pentagon insists that the US coalition is not involved in the fight, although there is still plenty of time for troops to aid should they be required and requested by Iraq.