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Thread: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

  1. #26
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Amanda Taub interviewed a scholar who is rather sceptical about Obama's policy against Da'esh.

    http://www.vox.com/2014/10/2/6881695...mbing-disaster

    Political scientist Dr. Erica Borghard has spent years studying the pitfalls and benefits of "proxy wars" in which one country wages war in another country indirectly, by arming, training, or otherwise supporting local armed groups. Her research has become especially relevant in the wake of Syria's civil war, in which a number of foreign countries are sponsoring parties to the conflict, and she has written about the dangers of arming rebel groups fighting against Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad.
    I think it's fair to say that the Syrian strategy doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

  2. #27
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The Kurds, however, have managed to secure much of Kobani, including most outskirts:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30991612

    Kurdish forces have driven Islamic State (IS) militants from Kobane, officials say, ending a four-month battle for the northern Syrian town.

    Fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) were said to have entered outlying areas in the east of the town after the jihadists retreated.

    However, the US said it was not yet prepared to declare the battle over.

    Kobane was seen as a major test of the US-led coalition's strategy to combat IS in Syria with air strikes.

    Tens of thousands of people fled over the nearby border with Turkey after IS launched an offensive in September, capturing about 300 nearby villages before entering the predominantly Kurdish town itself.

    The fighting has left at least 1,600 people dead, among them 1,196 jihadists, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

  3. #28
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Jordans information minister says his government is ready to swap an Iraqi woman held in Jordan for a Jordanian pilot captured in December by extremists from the Islamic State group.Mohammed al-Momani made no mention in his statement Wednesday of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who is also being held by the Islamic State group.

  4. #29
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Da'esh has mounted a vehement offensive against the city of Kirkuk that is controlled by Kurdish forces.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31061308

    A curfew is in place in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk following fierce overnight clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Islamic State militants.

    IS fighters used heavy weaponry and suicide bomb attacks against Kurdish Peshmerga forces to the south of the city in the early hours of Friday.

    Six Peshmerga fighters were killed, including senior commander Brigadier Sherko Fatih.


    A group that claims to belong to Da'esh has carried out an attack in the Sinai.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31054850

    Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has cut short a visit to an African Union summit to deal with an upsurge of attacks in the Sinai peninsula.

    Militants targeted military and police in North Sinai late on Thursday, which officials say killed at least 32 and wounded many more.

    The group Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), said it carried out the attacks.
    This is not the regular Da'esh group.

    It also attacked Rafah, which very disadvantageous for Gaza.

  5. #30
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ic-state-syria

    Islamic State (Isis) has admitted for the first time that US-led air strikes on Kobani have forced its fighters from the Syrian town.

    Two fighters from the Islamist group said in a video that aerial attacks by fighter jets from the US and several Arab countries were the main reason for the withdrawal.

    The warplanes were bombarding us night and day. They bombarded everything, even motorcycles, one said in Arabic.


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31070249

    A chemical weapons expert with the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Iraq has been killed in a coalition airstrike, the US military has said.

    Abu Malik's training provided IS with "expertise to pursue a chemical weapons capability", a statement said.

    He served as a chemical weapons engineer under former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, before joining al-Qaeda in Iraq and then IS, the US said.

    The US-led coalition has carried out nearly 2,000 strikes against IS.

    Mr Malik was killed in a raid near Mosul on 24 January, according to the US.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ges-deadlocked

    Negotiations with Islamic State militants threatening to execute a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot have become deadlocked, a Japanese minister said.

    Yasuhide Nakayama, the deputy foreign minister who is leading Tokyos emergency response team in Amman, said on Saturday that there had been no progress in trying to secure the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh.

    In Tokyo, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, Hiroshige Seko, said the government was still waiting for new information on the hostage crisis.


    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ani-isis-syria

    This week Kurdish forces took full control of Kobani, a Syrian town near the Turkish border, after months of bombardment by Islamic State. Mona Mahmood speaks to four Kurdish families about the female fighters who died helping to wrest control of the town from Isis

  6. #31
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31124900

    Jordan has executed two convicts, including a female jihadist, following the killing of one of its air force pilots by Islamic State (IS) militants.

    The woman, failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, and al-Qaeda operative Ziyad Karboli - both Iraqi nationals - were hanged at dawn, officials said.

    The executions came hours after IS posted a video appearing to show pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive.

  7. #32
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Da'esh has commenced an offensive quite close to Erbil:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-launches...s-iraq-1819880

    The Islamic State group launched a massive attack on Kurdish forces southwest of Erbil in Iraq Tuesday night. The fighting has continued for hours and coalition aircraft have been unable to fire on ISIS militants due to the close proximity of each side on the ground, CNN reported, citing Kurdish officials.

    The terror group -- formerly known as ISIS or ISIL -- launched the first assault around 9 p.m. local time about 28 miles from Erbil, the Kurdish capital. ISIS has made almost daily efforts to break through the Kurdish lines, which are spread out along the River Zab, according to CNN.


    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31484732

    Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says its armed forces are preparing for an offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State (IS).

    Mr Abadi told the BBC he hoped Mosul would be liberated in a few months' time, and with a minimum of casualties.

    Mosul, which was home to more than a million people, fell to IS last June.

    Mr Abadi also said he had been "a bit frustrated" in his first few months in office by the slowness of international help for the fight against IS.

    But in recent weeks, he added, the situation had changed for the better.


    It is said the Syrian government may agree to a ceasefire near war-torn Aleppo.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31514447

    UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura says Damascus is prepared to suspend its aerial bombardment of Aleppo for six weeks for a trial ceasefire.

    Mr de Mistura said the Syrian pledge offered a glimmer of hope although it is unclear when it would take effect.

    The opposition Syrian National Council says the government will be judged by actions rather than words.

    Government forces have been engaged in heavy fighting as they try to cut a crucial rebel supply route.

  8. #33
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    But it looks like Assad is playing a similar game to his ally Putin's.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ys-un-mediator

    The Syrian government is willing to suspend its bombardment of Aleppo so that a local ceasefire can be tested, the UN mediator on Syria has said.

    The progress of government troops, who say they have the rebels in the northern city surrounded, is however at odds with the proposal.

    Staffan de Mistura told the UN security council that Damascus was ready to declare a six-week ceasefire.

    Forces loyal to the countrys president, Bashar al-Assad, have made a pincer movement in the area, aiming to seal off a key supply line that stretches from Turkey into opposition-held territory.

  9. #34
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The attempt by Da'esh to break through Kurdish lines has failed:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31524867

    Peshmerga fighters have repelled a major attack by Islamic State south-west of Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region, officials say.

    A source told the BBC that more than 200 militants launched assaults on Peshmerga positions in three villages near Makhmur and Gwer late on Tuesday.

    The fighting lasted until dawn on Wednesday, the source said, adding that "dozens" of militants were killed.

    The Peshmerga received support from US-led coalition aircraft.

  10. #35
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The Iraqi army and various militias are besieging Tikrit. which is still held by Da'esh.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31708996

    Fierce clashes are taking place around the Iraqi city of Tikrit, as soldiers and militiamen attack Islamic State positions in the centre, officials say.

    Battles were reported in the suburb of al-Dour, the western al-Zuhur district, the northern area of Qadisiya, and near the Teaching Hospital in the south.

    But the government advance has been slowed by roadside bombs planted by IS.

    Iranian commanders are helping to co-ordinate the operation, which is not backed by US-led coalition air strikes.

    Iraqi Air Force helicopters and warplanes have conducted strikes since the offensive was launched on Sunday, but it is unclear whether Iranian aircraft have also been involved.
    There are concerns about the militias' treatment of Sunni civilians, as these have been the victims of atrocities.



    The rise of Da'esh must be contextualised, also in relation to the geopolitics of Western countries. That and the demystification of Da'esh's evil is attempted by Owen Jones.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...l-jihadis-west

    Something about the term barrel bomb fails to convey the horror of the weapon. Perhaps it is the alliteration, which has a kind of playful quality; maybe its because we associate barrels with beer and wine. But barrel bombs are the source of unimaginable horror and cruelty. As well as explosives, they often contain shrapnel to maximise the human carnage. Dropped from helicopters at heights that make precision targeting impossible, they are employed by the Bashar al-Assad regime, our de facto allies lets stop pretending otherwise and until recently, by the Iraqi government too. In just a year, barrel bombs killed more than 6,000 civilians in Syria, nearly a third of whom were children.

    But the Assad regime does not flaunt its cruelty. It does not make videos with Hollywood effects slo-mo, closeups, haunting music, the aftermath in high definition. Instead, it adopts the same regretful tone of western powers, like when the US dropped flesh-burning white phosphorus over Falluja. We regret any civilian casualties (or collateral damage, as the west prefers). We do not target civilians, unlike our opponents and so on. The scale of death may be far greater, but the claimed intentions are different: unlike our opponents, we do not aim to kill civilians, they say, so we retain our moral superiority. Above all, the Assad regime does not execute white westerners and film it. Islamic State (Isis) is now the iconic demon, the stuff of nightmares which is exactly what it wants, of course.

  11. #36
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Da'esh also destroyed countless ancient Mesopotamian statues as well, since they believed that those statues constitute idolatry.
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  12. #37
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    I actually wonder to what extent it was merely another desperate publicity drive by them, as Da'esh fares poorly outside Anbar. They'd know that destroying ancient Akkadian heritage would cause abhorrence among their opponents - at least the ones not in combat. It seems the statues destroyed were fakes. The question is: who was duped?

    http://www.theguardian.com/artanddes...-islamic-state

    Are lovers and protectors of art and archaeology a bunch of sensationalists who vastly exaggerate the threat to world heritage from Islamist extremists, in particular Islamic State?

    A comment by Mostafa Heddaya on Artinfo berates Tom Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum, for protesting emotionally at an attack on art, after IS released a video showing its cadres smashing statues in the Mosul Museum.

    On closer inspection, the video may not be all it seems. Channel 4 news pointed out that most of the statues explode into dust. Stone would not do that. In fact, many of the artworks destroyed in the video appear to be plaster casts. Does the fact that IS may have fabricated this film boastfully assaulting replicas mean we should be sceptical about its apparent hostility to art, and calm down about the cultural destruction issue? Is it, in reality, more interested in looting art for profit than destroying it in the name of religious purity?

    No. It would be complacent to take this film lightly.
    On the other hand, it would seem like a stupid move, as Da'esh relies on more secular, post-Ba'athist Sunni allies. Guess what historical cultures Saddam Hussain used to embrace and glorify?

  13. #38
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Saddam Hussein embraced and glorified the Babylonian Empire. After all, he rebuilt Babylon and his summer palace (shaped like a ziggurat) is constructed to overlook Babylon. On some of the bricks used in the ancient city's reconstruction, they read that he is the son of famed Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. In other words, Saddam Hussein viewed his country as the successor of the Babylonian Empire, and himself its heir.

    He hired security guards to protecte many foreign archaeologists during various excavations and executed grave robbers.
    Last edited by The Kirbinator; March 4th, 2015 at 03:29 PM.
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  14. #39
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kirbinator View Post
    Saddam Hussein embraced and glorified the Babylonian Empire. After all, he rebuilt Babylon and his summer palace (shaped like a ziggurat) overlooks it. On some of the bricks used in the ancient city's reconstruction, they read that he is the son of famed Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II.
    Yes, which is part of Akkadian culture (I bet Saddam also appreciated the Assyrian empires). Maybe he also digged Sumerian civilisation, which greatly influenced Akkadian cultures. The point is that this was a identity marker promoted among the Sunni Iraqis who favoured the secular regime of Hussain.

    Now Da'esh relies on Sunni discontent about Shi'ite sectarian politics to maintain Western Iraq in its clutches, including more secular-minded Sunnis. It is not unreasonable to wonder whether their purist iconoclasm will disenchant that demographic from their reign of terror. Da'esh simply takes a piss on the secular Sunnis' (past?) identity.

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The more you think about it, the less likely it seems that the plaster statues are a deliberate set-up by Da'esh and the likelier it seems they are the dupes. Knowing even the general details of Mesopotamian statues is very specialised knowledge and given Da'esh's size and aims you wouldn't expect a lot of experts on making molds or credible-looking statues within their ranks.



    The Shi'ite militias, the PMU, have some... questionable leadership:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31723327

    On 1 March about 27,000 Iraqi troops commenced their attack on Tikrit, a city 150km (93 miles) north of Baghdad that has been occupied by Islamic State (IS) since June 2014.

    The assault is the first attempt to evict IS from a major urban centre that they have controlled and fortified, a test case for the planned operation to retake Mosul - the Iraqi capital of the IS caliphate.

    The Tikrit operation will be scrutinised to shed light on two main uncertainties.

    Can predominately Shia volunteer forces play a productive leading role in operations within Sunni communities? And can the Iraqi military dislodge IS defenders from fortified urban settings?

    The assault has been billed as a joint operation involving the Iraqi army, the paramilitary federal police, the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), and the predominately Shia Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), the volunteer brigades and militias that have been formally integrated into the security forces since June 2014.
    The PMU are led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was labelled by the US as a "specially designated global terrorist" in 2009 for his part in attacks on US forces and other targets.

    He and many other PMU commanders have worked intensively with Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and continue to draw Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah advisers into their operations.

  16. #41
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The leader of Jabhat an-Nusra is, inconsistently, reported to have been killed by a Syrian aerial attack:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31757502

    The military chief of Syria's al-Nusra Front has been killed in an air strike, according to social media accounts linked to the jihadist group.

    The online sources claim three other leaders died along with Abu Homam al-Shami.

    Syria's state-run news agency reported his death was the result of a "special army operation" targeting Nusra leaders as they met in northern Idlib province.


    There is new evidence of Da'esh destroying ancient Mesopotamian heritage. In itself that is awful news, but it does corroborate that they themselves have been duped - also indicating that they really are not all that clever (how hard can it be to recognise plaster when it shatters in front of you?).

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31760656

    Archaeologists and officials have expressed outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by Islamic State militants in Iraq.

    IS began demolishing the site, which was founded in the 13th Century BC, on Thursday, according to Iraqi officials.

    The head of the UN's cultural agency condemned the "systematic" destruction in Iraq as a "war crime".

  17. #42
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    ok this has crossed the line. the should all be put to death by torture, a humane death is way too good for any of them. put aside all restrictions of the kinds of weapons we can use on these guys, they deserve to be hit with our worst of the worst.
    Last edited by astroninja1; March 6th, 2015 at 02:38 PM.

  18. #43
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    If Da'esh enjoys destroying ancient artifacts, then what if the iconoclasts were to be covered in concrete and become statues?

    Note that I don't condone capital punishment or torture and the above question is meant to be a joke.
    Last edited by The Kirbinator; March 6th, 2015 at 07:16 PM.
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  19. #44
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Guys, in most countries in the Middle East 'conservation' often hinges upon 'destruction'. The exceptions are Israel and Egypt. Think of the reconstruction of the Ishtar gate under Saddam. I expect there to be 'reconstructions' like that after this is over.

    Then Nimrud is a site that has been excavated for a long time, so the things that Da'esh are likely to destroy will have been well-studied. I think the loss is limited. And the larger the outcry, the more sense it makes for Da'esh to repeat it.



    General Dempsey expects the battle for Tikrit to be won by Iraq:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...top-us-general

    The combined force of Iranian-backed militias and Iraqi government troops is likely to prevail against Islamic State forces in the unfolding battle for Tikrit, Americas top general has said.

    General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters on an aircraft on his way to Iraq that he believes the Islamist militants will be pushed out of Tikrit.

    The numbers are overwhelming, he said, as the fighting in Iraq gathered pace.

  20. #45
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Much more abhorrent than the destruction of buildings is how Da'esh exterminated Yazidi men and enslaved/enslaves Yazidi women. The UNHCR released a short video series in which Yazidi women are interviewed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9rAz9KL_Fg



    Oh and I've replaced all earlier instances of "ISIS" in my text with "Da'esh". It's the ordinary word for the thing in Iraqi Arabic now apparently and it doesn't make any of the war criminals' claims. So why not?
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 01:12 PM.

  21. #46
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    There have been some reports that document Da'esh's war crimes, including genocide.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31962755

    Jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group may have committed genocide and war crimes against the minority Yazidi community in Iraq, the UN says.

    In a new report, it says IS had "the intent... to destroy the Yazidi as a group."

    Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled villages in northern Iraq amid IS advances last summer. Many were killed or captured and enslaved.

    Yazidis follow an ancient faith that jihadists regard as devil worship.

    The report, commissioned by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, was based on more than 100 interviews with survivors of attacks in Iraq between June 2014 and February this year.
    http://www.minorityrights.org/13031/...inorities.html

    Minority communities in Iraq have been targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in a systematic strategy to remove them permanently from large areas of Iraq, says a group of human rights organizations in a report launched in Brussels today. The report provides critical information on the legal basis for war crimes prosecutions and follows a hearing on religious minorities in the European Parliament.

    Between the Millstones: Iraq's Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul is a joint report of Institute of International Law and Human Rights (IILHR), Minority Rights Group International (MRG), No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) focusing on the Christians, Kaka'i, Shabak, Turkmen and Yezidi - who have been most affected by the conflict.
    The BBC link also notes that Iraqi troops and militias may have committed war crimes.

  22. #47
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    An alliance of Salafists, including Jabhat an-Nusra, has taken Idlib from the Syrian government:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32100644

    Islamist rebels have captured the north-western Syrian city of Idlib from government forces, monitors say.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and Nusra Front groups had taken the city on Saturday.

    Idlib is only the second provincial centre to fall into rebel hands, after Raqqa was seized by Islamic State (IS).

    Syria's civil war, which began four years ago, has killed more than 200,000 Syrians and displaced 11 million.

    The UK-based observatory said the militant groups seized the city after four days of intense fighting.

    Syria has not confirmed the loss.

  23. #48
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Tikrit has almost been rid of Da'esh fighters:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0MS3NC20150401

    (Reuters) - Iraqi troops and Shi'ite paramilitary fighters were battling Islamic State on Wednesday in northern Tikrit, which officials described as the Sunni Muslim militant group's last stronghold in the city.

    With officials touting victory in a month-long battle, state television said Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi was visiting the city, which the Islamist militants captured last June as they seized most of Iraq's Sunni territories.

    Security forces were fighting to clear the last Islamic State stronghold, the northern neighborhood of Qadissiyah, Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban told reporters in the city.

    "Most of Tikrit today is liberated, only small parts remain (outside our control). We will give you the good news in the next few hours after eliminating the pockets that are still in the city," Ghabban said.
    They did in the end rely on American air power.



    The next large theatre of operations in Iraq will be Mosul:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/2/24/8091913...sive-explained

    The US has announced a plan for Iraqi troops to invade Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which has been under ISIS control since June 2014. The offensive, planned for April or May with US support, is potentially risky, but could be a turning point in the war against ISIS.

    The success of the Mosul campaign is critical to the future of the war against ISIS and also to the future of the Iraqi state and its relationship with the US. But there may be more going on here than meets the eye.
    According to CENTCOM, the offensive will launch in April or May. A joint force of 25,000 Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish fighters will lead the assult. That includes five regular Iraqi army brigades, three Kurdish brigades, three Iraqi reserves, and some specialized Iraqi counterterrorism forces. Critically, there will also be a local police-tribal force designed to hold the territory after it's cleared. All of this will be supported by American airpower and possibly other forms of support such as weapons shipments.

    They'll be facing a dug-in ISIS force. The US estimates there are likely 1,000 to 2,000 ISIS fighters in the city now, but the group currently numbers an estimated 20,000 to 31,500 in total according to the CIA (some private analyst estimates go as high as 100,000). So it could certainly shift more fighters to Mosul in anticipation of the assault.
    It was probably just a matter of time until the US and Iraq moved to retake Mosul, but the decision to announce the assault in advance has understandably raised eyebrows including in Baghdad. The announcement may in fact be more about diplomacy between the US and Iraq than about military strategy, and the invasion may not take place until much later in the year.

    "I don't know where the American official got this information ... they absolutely do not have knowledge on this issue," Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi said to Reuters of the announced timetable.

    The skepticism from the defense establishment diverges sharply from what you hear from some Iraqi political leaders; Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in mid-February that Mosul would be taken back in several moths. Iraq analysts believe the US announcement may have been intended to placate Abadi and others, and that the specific timetable may be a bit of a smokescreen.
    Last edited by Villerar; April 1st, 2015 at 07:41 AM.

  24. #49
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    A more recent estimate of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria puts them at 20,000:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...says-un-report

    Iraq and Syria have become international finishing schools for extremists according to a UN report which says the number of foreign fighters joining terrorist groups has spiked to more than 25,000 from more than 100 countries.

    The panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions against al-Qaida estimates the number of overseas terrorist fighters worldwide increased by 71% between mid-2014 and March 2015.

    It said the scale of the problem had increased over the past three years and the flow of foreign fighters was higher than it has ever been historically.

    The overall number of foreign terrorist fighters has risen sharply from a few thousand a decade ago to more than 25,000 today, the panel said in its report to the UN security council, which was obtained by Associated Press.

    The report said just two countries had drawn more than 20,000 foreign fighters: Syria and Iraq. They went to fight primarily for the Islamic State group but also the al-Nusra Front.


    Media are shifting their focus more to whether Shi'ite militias will spoil any political solutions.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/3/25/8290165/iraq-shia-militias

    For the Sunni Iraqis living in town of Amerli, what happened in August 2014 must have at first seemed like salvation. After ISIS laid siege to Amerli for three months, the group was finally pushed out of the area by Iraqi forces. The horror of ISIS violence had ended.

    But when ISIS fled Amerli, many of the forces that moved in were not uniformed Iraqi Army soldiers, but Shia militias. The numerous and well-armed militias, crucial allies of the Iraqi Army in fighting ISIS, are nonetheless outside of the state's control. And when they moved into Amerli, they brought something other than liberation.
    This old contribution thinks the solution is exceptional:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/op...pens-next.html

  25. #50
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The Iraqis have commenced to exhume mass graves in Tikrit. These are of soldiers who were killed last June.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32199244

    The suspected mass graves of up to 1,700 captured Iraqi soldiers killed by the Islamic State group (IS) have been found in the city of Tikrit.

    The sites are near the former US Army base, Camp Speicher.

    Iraqi forensic teams have begun to excavate 12 graves following the city's recent liberation from IS.

    The June 2014 incident is notorious after IS posted videos and pictures of the execution of the mostly Shia soldiers on social media.

    Survivors say the militants questioned the victims to identity those who were Shia before killing them.

    The exhumations have began just days after Tikrit fell to a combination of the Iraqi army and Shia militias following a month long siege.

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