‘Iraq’s Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari says ISIL is now on the defensive, although they are still in control of Mosul. Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad (12 Dec 2014)’.
In USA TODAY Jim Michaels writes that “Iraqi security forces are speeding up plans to retake territory seized by the Islamic State, and could launch a major offensive against the militants this winter, according to a senior U.S. defense official. Iraq’s military had been so disorganized that initial preparations called for a counterattack no earlier than next spring. The new plans reflect recent battlefield successes that have forced militant retreats, boosting the confidence of Iraq’s government and armed forces, according to the U.S. Central Command official, who is involved in the planning. He asked that he not to be named because he is not authorized to discuss the campaign plans publicly . . . [and a] centerpiece of the ground offensive against the Islamic State will be a push to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which is expected to be a complex battle that could take months and involve bloody street fighting “.
 Jim Michaels, “Iraq speeds up planned ISIL counteroffensive” USA TODAY (04 Dec 2014). http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/12/04/iraq-counteroffensive-against-islamic-state/19858843/.