The former CIA Vice President John Edward McLaughlin suggests a horror scenario, when ISIL would win in Iraq, and lists four conditions that could make it possible.
1. US coalition does not send ground troops
The first scenario stipulates that the US-led coalition will be unable to organize sufficiently powerful ground forces. Air strikes alone will not be enough to weaken the ISIL, and the Iraqi army does not have sufficient capabilities to defeat terrorists.
As long as there is no ground offensive, ISIL can continue to use its smuggling routes over land and gain further territories, the expert said.
2. The ISIL reaches Baghdad
If the ISIL fighters intervene in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, it would have serious consequences for the entire region. The local residents would indeed defend the city to the death, but ISIL would probably not even need a victory to make its expansion successful.
According to expert, it would be enough to send fighters and weapons to Baghdad to wreak havoc the city and show that the defense cannot withstand the jihadists. This would further strengthen the impact of IS in Anbar province, particularly, in the recently conquered city of Ramadi.
3. Iraq continues to fall apart
4. Iran withdraws its forces
According to McLaughlin, much progress in Iraq was achieved thanks to Iran’s military forces, which play a key role in fighting the terrorist group. However, neither Saudi Arabia nor the United States are willing to approve a stronger involvement of Tehran. The government in Riyadh is afraid that the Iranian troops would not stop at the Saudi Arabian border. Washington, in turn, fears the strengthening of Tehran’s influence and losing its own positions in the region.
Withdrawal of Iranian forces is, therefore, a likely option. This would however lead to a significant weakening of the coalition.