Despite recent Iraqi efforts to take Tikrit from the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) and recent success by joint Kurdish-Iraqi forces in the north (with an important assist from our air power), the jihadis are still dug in north of Baghdad.
And they are still active:
Militants have launched a renewed push to seize Iraq's main oil refinery north of Baghdad, battling security forces backed by air support, a police officer and witnesses said on Sunday.
The fighting, in which militants attacked the Baiji refinery from three sides, broke out on Saturday evening and continued into the next day, the sources said.
In a perfect world, Iraqi forces on the Baghdad front engage ISIL enough to pin them in place while the Kurdish-led effort liberates Mosul and moves to cut off the line of communication of the terrorists on the main front to their Syrian brethren.
Once shaken by that outcome, Iraqi forces with American air power could be the hammer to pound the jihadis against the Kurdish anvil holding the northern avenue of escape.
As an aside, just what does ISIL have to do to be promoted from "militants" to "terrorists" in their style guide? Declare themselves the Iraq and Levant Chapter of the Tea Party?