Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Iraq Civil War Updates ( June 12 , 2014 ) ..... US airstrikes to support Iranian Revolutionary Guard's offensive in Iraq? ISIS conquering Iraq so fast its tough to keep up with the news !

US airstrikes to support Iranian Revolutionary Guard's offensive in Iraq?

Published time: June 12, 2014 21:16
F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft (AFP Photo / DOD / US Air Force / JonathanSynder)
F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft (AFP Photo / DOD / US Air Force / JonathanSynder)
Iran deployed its Revolutionary Guard to help Iraq battle insurgents from a group inspired by Al-Qaeda, according to a recent report. In the meantime, the US is mulling airstrikes to support the Iraqi government.
On Wednesday, Al-Qaeda affiliate insurgents from the armed group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) conquered former dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, marking the second major loss for the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Earlier this week, insurgents captured Mosul, the second-largest city in the country. With jihadists threatening Baghdad and security forces unable resist the Sunni Islamists' assault, Maliki turned to foreign powers for help, getting responses from two unlikely allies, Iran and the US.
Two battalions of the Quds Forces, which is the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, moved to Iraq on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. There they worked jointly with Iraqi troops to retake control of 85 percent of Tikrit, security forces from both countries told the Journal. Iranian forces are also helping guard the Iraqi capital of Bagdhad, as well as two Shiite holy cities that the Sunni jihadists are threatening.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard (Reuters / Raheb Homavandi)
Iranian Revolutionary Guard (Reuters / Raheb Homavandi)

Meanwhile, on Thursday morning, US President Barack Obama declared that he doesn't rule out any options with regards to the ISIS takeover of cities in the northern region of Iraq. The administration and its national security team are discussing military options.
“We do have a stake in ensuring these jihadists don't get foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama said.
Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified that US will not send ground troops to Iraq, but is seriously considering airstrikes that would help to drive jihadist militants out of their strongholds.
Iraq has privately indicated to the Obama administration that it would welcome airstrikes with either drones or manned aircraft that target ISIS militants in Iraqi territory, US officials said Wednesday.
If so, US may find itself assisting its archnemesis in the Middle East to fight against Sunni militias that enjoy support from one of America's closest allies in the region, Saudi Arabia. The ruling family of the kingdom has long been accused of supplying jihadists all over the region with arms and financial support, the New York Times reported.
image from
image from

The US and Iran severed diplomatic relations in 1979, after Islamic militants following Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized the government and deposed the American-backed shah. Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran, leading to the 444-day Iran hostage crisis. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was in a state of heavy international isolation. The US has led the world in debilitating sanctions against the Islamic Republic that have increased as the Middle Eastern country has developed its nuclear program.
Under Hussein’s dictarorship, Sunnis dominated the Iraqi political landscape, even though over 60 percent of Iraqis are Shia. In Iran, over 95 percent of the population is Shia. The two countries are the only majority-Shiite nations in the Middle East. (Over 1.1 billion Muslims around the world are Sunni, while less than 200 million Muslims are Shia.)
From 1980 to 1988, the two nations battled in a deadly war in which both sides deployed chemical weapons. The US sided with Hussein during that war, but turned against the dictator when he invaded American ally Kuwait in 1990, leading to the first Gulf War. Hussein stayed in power until the second Gulf War began in March 2003.
Once Hussein was captured by American forces in December 2003, the Shia majority regained political power. Al-Maliki is a Shiite Muslim and has become unpopular with Iraq Sunni minority, which has accused the government of discrimination. Since 2005, Iran and Iraq have had a flourishing relationship, and are now considered to be each other’s strongest allies.
Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waving the trademark Islamists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin on June 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / HO / Welyat Salahuddin)
Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waving the trademark Islamists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin on June 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / HO / Welyat Salahuddin)

Quds Forces have been active in Iraq for years, creating, training and funding Shiite militias that battled the US military after the 2003 invasion. Iran sees the battle for Iraq as “an existential sectarian battle between the two rival sects of Islam-Sunni and Shiite—and by default a proxy battle between their patrons Saudi Arabia and Iran,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
The US still sees Iraq as vital to its national interests, despite having pulled its troops out of the country at the end of 2011.
“What we've seen over last couple of days indicates degree to which Iraq is going to need more help,” Obama said, calling recent events a “wake-up call for the Iraqi government.”
"The next 9/11 is in the making," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said of the danger of the Iraqi insurgency.

Iraq Update: Kurds Take Kirkuk, Al Qaeda Surges Toward Baghdad

Tyler Durden's picture

Now that 25 year old math PhD HFT programmers have finally figured out what this thing called Iraq is, and why headlines around it should factor into algo trading signals - especially those of crude oil - here, for their benefit is a summary of the latest events in Iraq, and also for everyone else confused why crude is back to levels not seen since last summer.
In broader terms (via RanSquawk):
  • The situation in Northern Iraq continues to deteriorate as the extremist ISIS/ISIL group took control of Mosul and then moved into Tirkit, which was later recaptured, in the north of Iraq which is near the Ceyhan-Kirkuk pipeline, which carries 1.6mln bbls per day. ISIS/ISIL forces then seized the Baiji refinery, the main refinery in Iraq, from Iraqi forces. (BBG/RTRS)
  • Iraqi forces and militants have now clashed in Ramadi, 100km from Baghdad, as ISIL extremist forces push towards the Iraqi capital. (BBG)
  • However Iraqi Oil Minister Luaibi said US planes may bomb North Iraq and denied ISIL took Baiji refinery in the North. The oil Minister also said Iraq average crude exports 2.6mln bbl/d, Iraq crude production 3.166mln bbl/d, Kirkuk production 167,000 bbl/d and Iraq has stored oil products and won't increase imports. (BBG/RTRS)
  • Washington has vowed to boost aid to Iraq and is mulling done strikes amid fears that Iraqi forces are crumbling in the face of militant attacks. (RTRS)
And in detail:
As the WSJ reports, after hard core Al Qaeda spin off ISIS (no relation to Sterling Archer) took over Saddam's home town of Tikrit yesterday, Iraq edged closer to all-out sectarian conflict on Thursday as Kurdish forces took control of a provincial capital in the oil-rich north and Sunni militants vowed to march on two cities revered by Shiite Muslims.  Kurdish militia known as peshmerga said they had taken up positions in key government installations in Kirkuk, as forces of the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki abandoned their posts and fled in fear of advancing Sunni militants, an official in the office of the provincial governor said.
Reuters adds that "The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga," citing Jabbar Yawar. "No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk now."
This in turn has put the output of the key Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, with a 1.6MM bbls/day capacity, at risk.
The militia were operating out of the headquarters of the Iraqi army's 2nd Division. The official said western parts of Kirkuk province were still under the control of fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot.
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, said the al Qaeda-inspired group would advance on Karbala and Najaf, as well as the capital Baghdad, the Associated Press reported, citing an audio statement.
However, as we showed yesterday, the final ISIS target is none other than the city of Baghdad, and the overthrow of the Iraq government entirely.
In Tikrit, militants have set up military councils to run the towns they captured, residents said.
“They came in hundreds to my town and said they are not here for blood or revenge but they seek reforms and to impose justice. They picked a retired general to run the town,” said a tribal figure from the town of Alam, north of Tikrit.
“'Our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there,' that’s what their leader of the militants group kept repeating," the tribal figure said.
The powerful Shiite leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, urged his followers on Wednesday to form military units to defend the two cities, which along with Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia are considered sacred by Shiites.
Before he suspended its operations in 2008, Mr. Sadr's Mahdi Army, once estimated to have nearly 60,000 members, played a major role in the country's Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict.
His call for military mobilization came after Mr. Maliki said the government would arm citizens who volunteer to fight militants, after the fall of Mosul on Tuesday.
Security was stepped up in Baghdad to prevent the Sunni militants from reaching the capital, which is itself divided into Sunni and Shi'ite neighborhoods and saw ferocious sectarian street fighting in 2006-2007 under U.S. occupation.
* * *
The Kurdish capture of Kirkuk instantly overturns the fragile balance of power that has held Iraq together as a state since Saddam's fall.
Iraq's Kurds have done well since 2003, running their own affairs while being given a fixed percentage of the country's overall oil revenue. But with full control of Kirkuk - and the vast oil deposits beneath it - they could earn more on their own, eliminating the incentive to remain part of a failing Iraq.
Maliki's army already lost control of much of the Euphrates valley west of the capital to ISIL last year, and with the evaporation of the army in the Tigris valley to the north this week, the government could be left in control only of Baghdad and areas south.
The surge also potentially leaves the long desert frontier between Iraq and Syria effectively in ISIL hands, advancing its stated goal of erasing the border altogether and creating a single state ruled according to mediaeval Islamic principles.
Maliki described the fall of Mosul as a "conspiracy" and said the security forces who had abandoned their posts would be punished. He also said Iraqis were volunteering in several provinces to join army brigades to fight ISIL.
In a statement on its Twitter account, ISIL said it had taken Mosul as part of a plan "to conquer the entire state and cleanse it from the apostates", referring to the province of Nineveh of which the city is the capital.
Militants were reported to have executed soldiers and policemen after their seizure of some towns.
* * *
And while all of the above explains oil's spike today, now that the world has yet another geopolitical hotzone to follow, following the China-Japan naval conflict, the China-Vietnam escalation, the Thailand martial law, the Ukraine civil war and now the Iraq collapse, expect the USDJPY rigging crew to ignite enough momentum to send the S&P 500 to fresh all time highs.

Tribal leaders defend holy shrines in Samarra

Salah-il-Din (AIN) –The leaders of tribes and chieftains in Samarra city promised to assume the task of defending the holy shrines in Samarra.
Security source reported to AIN "The tribes and chieftains of Samarra confirmed their readiness to protect and defend the holy shrine of the Askreeain  from the terrorist attacks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant."
Samrra City witness heavy clashes between the security forces and the ISIL. /End

Source: Maliki to attend Thursday Parliament session

Baghdad (AIN) –Parliamentary source assured that "The Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed his readiness to attend the Thursday session of the Parliament."
The source stated to AIN "The Prime Minister Maliki will attend the Emergency Session of the Parliament to be held on Thursday to vote on the request of the Presidency of the Republic and the Council of Ministers over announcing the state of emergency."
He clarified "The vote on the request of the two presidencies is conditioned by the attendance of parliamentary blocs and achieving the quorum of the session." /End

Iran suspends flights to Baghdad Airport

Follow-Up (AIN) –Iran confirmed suspending all the pilgrims flights to Baghdad Airport because of the current security crisis in Iraq.
The head of the Iranian Pilgrimage Establishment Saeed Awhadi said "The flights of the Iranian pilgrims from Tehran to Baghdad have been suspended till another announcement."
"All the flights of the Iranian pilgrims will be redirected to Najaf Airport," he mentioned.
Awhadi clarified "About 16000 to 17000 Iranian pilgrims are doing the rituals of pilgrimage at the holy shrines in Iraq at this time of the year." /End/

US Plans Emergency Arms Shipments to Iraq

As al-Qaeda Grows, US Options Are Limited

by Jason Ditz, June 11, 2014
Pentagon plans for massive weapons shipments to Iraq are looking to be accelerated tonight, as the Obama Administration considers how to get involved in the growing war with al-Qaeda in the nation.
Early shipments are likely to include Hellfire missiles and drones, with artillery and other weapons to follow. The recent loss of Mosul to al-Qaeda fighters has the US hoping they can stall the offensive with arms for Iraq’s military.
Whether that works remains to be seen, and since the Iraqi soldiers in Mosul fled outright, abandoning a lot of US made weapons to the invading militants, it isn’t clear that the US shipments might not just end up in al-Qaeda’s hands anyhow.
Though there seems to be some consideration of US drone strikes as well, there is no appetite for direct US involvement in Iraq again so soon after the last failed war, and by and large the US aid is going to be financial, buying weapons they hope will eventually turn the tide of battle.

ISIS militants plan to march on Baghdad

A man displays an Iraqi army jacket near the burnt vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces at a checkpoint in east Mosul, one day after radical Sunni Muslim insurgents seized control of the city, June 11, 2014. (Reuters)
Militants who have seized a large swathe of northern and north-central Iraq now plan to march on the capital Baghdad, a U.S.-based monitoring group said Wednesday.
In a lightning offensive, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants seized Tikrit earlier, its latest success following a spectacular assault late Monday on Mosul, a city of two million.
The militants’ advances have forced as many as half a million people to flee their homes.
ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani promised that the battle would “rage” on Baghdad and Karbala, a city southwest of the capital that is considered one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims, the SITE Intelligence Group said.
“Do not relent against your enemy... The battle is not yet raging, but it will rage in Baghdad and Karbala,” Adnani said, according to a SITE translation of an audio statement released on the militants’ Twitter feed.
“Put on your belts and get ready.”
Adnani also dismissed President Nuri Al-Maliki as woefully incompetent, calling him an “underwear salesman.”
“What have you done to your people, O foolish one. No one is more foolish than you but those who accept you as the president and commander,” Adnani said in the translated statement.
“What do you know about policy, leadership, and military command? You lost a historic opportunity for your people to control Iraq, and the Shiites will always curse you for as long as they live. Indeed, there is between us and you a balance to be made even.”
ISIS was originally al-Qaeda's branch in Iraq, but it used Syria’s civil war to vault into something more powerful. It defied orders from al-Qaeda's central command and expanded its operations into Syria, ostensibly to fight to topple Assad. But it has turned mainly to conquering territory for itself, often battling other rebels who stand in the way.

Official: U.S. mulls drone strikes in Iraq

A man looks at burnt vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces one day after radical Sunni Muslim insurgents seized control of city of Mosul June 11, 2014. (Reuters)
While the United States vowed support to Iraqi leaders on Wednesday, as they combat a militant offensive that has seized a large swathe of northern and north-central Iraq, a Western official said Washington is mulling the use of drone strikes to help the beleaguered country.
The request for air strikes has been turned down in the past, but Washington is now weighing several possibilities for more military assistance to Baghdad, including drone strikes, a Western official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

Resorting to such aircraft -- which remain highly controversial in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- would mark a dramatic shift in the U.S. engagement in Iraq, after the last American troops pulled out in late 2011.

But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stressed there were no current plans to send U.S. troops back to Iraq, where around 4,500 Americans died in the eight-year conflict.

She also denied the offensive, in which the militants seized northern Mosul and then Tikrit, had caught Washington by surprise or marked a failure of U.S. policy in the country it invaded in 2003.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider airstrikes against militant staging areas as the threat from Sunni insurgents mounted last month.
But an Iraqi official told Reuters that Iraq wanted U.S. air strikes but believed the Obama administration was not interested in getting involved.
“While the national security team always looks at a range of options, the current focus of our discussions with the government of Iraq and our policy considerations is to build the capacity of the Iraqis to successfully confront and deal with the threat posed by ISIS,” White House national security council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in an emailed comment to Reuters.
The Obama administration official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity declined to provide details on what the United States might do to help Iraq, saying only that it was “considering [a] range of requests.”
The Wall Street Journal, quoting senior U.S. officials, first reported that Iraq had signaled it would let the United States strike al-Qaeda militant targets in Iraq with manned aircraft or drones.

An Obama administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Iraq had previously made clear its interest in drone strikes or bombing by manned U.S. aircraft to help it beat back the militant onslaught.

Militants eye Baghdad

Sunni rebels from an al-Qaeda splinter group overran the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday and closed in on the biggest oil refinery in the country, making further gains in their rapid military advance against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

The threat to the Baiji refinery came after militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group which also seized the northern city of Mosul, advancing their aim of creating a Sunni Caliphate straddling the border between Iraq and Syria.
On Thursday, Al Arabiya’s correspondent said ISIS militants were calling on its supporters to join forces to head to Baghdad.
While U.S. lawmakers openly questioned whether Maliki should remain in power, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement Wednesday that Washington stands by Iraqi leaders.
“The United States will stand with Iraqi leaders across the political spectrum as they forge the national unity necessary to succeed in the fight against ISIS,” AFP quoted him as saying.

A family fleeing the violence in Mosul waits at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, June 11, 2014. (Reuters)

U.S. readies new aid

The United States is also preparing to send new aid to Iraq to help slow a violent insurgent march that is threatening to take over its northern provinces, officials said Wednesday.
Psaki said it’s expected that the U.S. will give Iraq new assistance to combat insurgents but declined to comment further.
Beyond the missiles, tanks, fighter jets and ammunition that the U.S. has already either given or plans to send to Iraq, Baghdad has sought American surveillance drones to root out insurgents.

“The situation is certainly very grave on the ground,” Psaki said Wednesday. She said the U.S. is encouraged by Baghdad's recent promise for a national unity effort but “there’s more that Prime Minister Maliki can do.”

“We agree that all Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Maliki, can do more to address unresolved issues there, to better meet the needs of the Iraqi people,” Psaki said.

Doubting Maliki

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers are increasingly doubting Maliki.
With no obvious replacement for Maliki - and no apparent intent on his part to step down - Washington is largely resigned to continue working with his Shiite-led government that has targeted Sunni political opponents and, in turn, has inflamed sectarian tensions across Iraq.

“He’s obviously not been a good prime minister,” Sen. Bob Corker, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Associated Press. “He has not done a good job of reaching out to the Sunni population, which has caused them to be more receptive to al-Qaeda efforts.”

The panel’s chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, noted only lukewarm support for Maliki, both in Iraq and among U.S. officials. “I don’t know whether or not he will actually be the prime minister again,” Menendez said. “I guess by many accounts, he may very well ultimately put [together] the coalition necessary to do that.”
Maliki’s party won the most seats in the most recent elections held in April, but it failed to capture a clear majority. That has spawned a rash of political bargaining in Baghdad as officials build a new power-sharing government.
Maliki’s opponents have for years been unable or unwilling to work together to unseat the prime minister and, in the meantime, there are few people in Iraq’s current government who could replace him.

As militants advance in Iraq, U.S. Embassy in Baghdad readies evacuation


According to U.S. sources who spoke with The Blaze reporter Sara Carter, the United States Embassy in Baghdad is preparing plans to facilitate the evacuation of that massive facility as Islamic militant groups continue their blitz across that country.
“The U.S. official told TheBlaze that the U.S. Embassy, United Nations and other foreign organizations with a presence in Iraq are ‘preparing contingency plans to evacuate employees,’” The Blaze reported.
A counterterrorism expert added that the level of violence in Iraq is at levels “not seen since 2007,” just prior to the implementation of the “surge” strategy which temporarily pacified the growing insurgency in that country.
The $750 million complex is the world’s largest foreign embassy facility and was built to house tens of thousands of government employees and contractors, but it has not been fully staffed since the end of 2013.
The al-Qaeda-linked group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have already captured the cities of Mosul, Tikrit, and Fallujah, and may be setting their sights on the Iraqi capital. The group’s aim is to create a pan-Islamic state that stretches from the Mediterranean coast to the Iranian border.
The State Department has warned American citizens against traveling to Iraq amid the escalating violence.

Al-Qaeda rebels take Tikrit, force 500,000 to flee Mosul


Tikrit may be remembered more for being Saddam Hussein’s home town. Today it fell to radical Sunni extremists linked to al-Qaeda as western Iraq spins out of Baghdad’s control. ISIS also tightened its grip on Mosul and took aim at the Iraqi oil infrastructure, hoping to establish its own transnational state with territory it controls in Syria:
Iraqi security officials say al-Qaida-inspired militants have seized the northern city of Tikrit.
The two officials in Baghdad told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Saddam Hussein’s hometown was under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, whose fighters this week took control of Mosul, the country’s second largest city.
The BBC reports that 500,000 refugees have fled Mosul to escape ISIS, and that the terrorists have seized diplomatic personnel from Turkey:
As many as 500,000 people have been forced to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul after hundreds of Islamist militants took control of it, theInternational Organization for Migration (IOM) says.
Troops were among those fleeing as the jihadists from the ISIS group took the city and much of Nineveh province.
The head of the Turkish mission in Mosul and 24 consulate officials have been seized, local sources say.
PM Nouri Maliki has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency.
The US said the development showed ISIS was a threat to the entire region.
Yes, but what is the US prepared to do about it? Not much more than cheerlead from the sidelines, according to McClatchy:
U.S. officials were quick to express solidarity with the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who was elected to his post originally during the American occupation and whose administration the U.S. has backed with weapons shipments and military training. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was working closely with the Maliki government, and Brett McGurk, the State Department’s top diplomat for Iraq and Iran, pointed out via Twitter that U.S. and Iraqi soldiers “have suffered and bled together, and we will help in time of crisis.”
But the nature of that help was perhaps best encapsulated in the response of Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby that made it clear that the U.S. was unlikely to become directly involved in Iraq’s battle with ISIS. “This is for the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government to deal with,” Kirby said.
In comments Tuesday, U.S. officials left no room for direct involvement in the conflict there, where ISIS, analysts said, had demonstrated that it could successfully and simultaneously control parts of two major Iraqi cities, while battling multiple forces inside Syria, including the Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah and al Qaida’s Nusra Front. …
The performance of the Iraqi military at Mosul was another source of embarrassment for American officials, who had spent billions of dollars training and equipping the Iraqi military, only to have its soldiers shed their uniforms and flee before the ISIS attackers.
As I wrote earlier, there isn’t much we can do now. Despite the predictable return of al-Qaeda and ISIS to western Iraq, the Obama administration failed to reach an agreement with the Maliki government for a residual force to support Iraq’s security services in that eventuality. We have no footprint on the ground any longer in Iraq, and other than long-range bombing missions that would do damage to the Iraqis as well as ISIS thanks to the latter’s integration into urban areas, no immediate way to impact the fight.
Our materiel on the ground is worse than useless now, thanks to the Iraqi army’s flight:
With the fall of Mosul on Tuesday, Iraq’s al Qaeda offshoot has not only seized the country’s second-largest city, it appears it also has come into possession of the heavy weapons and vehicles the U.S. military had provided Iraq’s military to fight them.
That’s terrible news for America’s few allies left in Iraq as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) morph from terrorist menace to a military force capable of over-running an army the U.S. military trained for nearly a decade. It also calls into question the American government’s decision to withdraw the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011. Three years later that withdrawal now appears premature. …
General Najim al-Jabouri, a former mayor of Tel Afar, which is a little more than 31 miles from Mosul, told The Daily Beast the bases seized by ISIS this week would provide the group with even more heavy weapons than they currently control. “The Iraqi army left helicopters, humvees, cargo planes and other heavy machine guns, along with body armor and uniforms,” the general, who is now a scholar at the National Defense University, said. He said he was able to learn about the equipment from soldiers and other politicians in and around Mosul with whom he keeps in touch.
General Najim is not alone in this assessment. Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general who was a key adviser to General David Petraeus during the counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 known as the surge, said ISIS has now established itself as a formidable military force.
Speaking of premature, the troops we trained to replace us ended up demoralized when confronted in the field — and are now deserting in large numbers:
After months of grinding conflict against a resurgent militant movement, the Iraqi Army is having its power blunted by a rise in desertions, turning the tide of the war and fragmenting an institution, trained and funded by the United States, that some hoped would provide Iraqis a common sense of citizenship.
In a nation tearing apart along sectarian lines, Sunnis and Shiites have served together in the military. But the defections of Sunni soldiers threatened to deepen the growing perception among Iraq’s Sunnis that the military serves as an instrument of Shiite power, even while Shiites soldiers have also fled.
The toll of the desertions came into sharp relief on Tuesday, as soldiers and their commanders abandoned bases in Mosul, all but ceding Iraq’s second-largest city to extremist fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The fleeing troops left weapons, vehicles and even their uniforms behind, as militants took over at least five army installations and the city’s airport. In a desperate bid to stem the losses, the military was reduced to bombing its own bases to avoid surrendering more weapons to the enemy. American officials who had asserted that the $14 billion that the United States had spent on the Iraqi security forces would prepare them to safeguard the country after American troops left were forced to ponder images from Mosul of militants parading around captured Humvees.
The Wall Street Journal puts the blame on the Obama administration for its decision to completely abandon Iraq:
Since President Obama likes to describe everything he inherited from his predecessor as a “mess,” it’s worth remembering that when President Bush left office Iraq was largely at peace. Civilian casualties fell from an estimated 31,400 in 2006 to 4,700 in 2009. U.S. military casualties were negligible. Then CIA Director Michael Hayden said, with good reason, that “al Qaeda is on the verge of a strategic defeat in Iraq.”
Fast forward through five years of the Administration’s indifference, and Iraq is close to exceeding the kind of chaos that engulfed it before the U.S. surge. The city of Fallujah, taken from insurgents by the Marines at a cost of 95 dead and nearly 600 wounded in November 2004, fell again to al Qaeda in January. The Iraqi government has not been able to reclaim the entire city—just 40 miles from Baghdad. More than 1,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in May alone, according to the Iraq Body Count web site. …
Its promise of a “diplomatic surge” in Iraq to follow the military surge of the preceding years never materialized as the U.S. washed its hands of the country. Mr. Obama’s offer of a couple thousand troops beyond 2011 was so low that Mr. Maliki didn’t think it was worth the domestic criticism it would engender. An American President more mindful of U.S. interests would have made Mr. Maliki an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Mr. Maliki had to plead for emergency military equipment when he visited the U.S. last year, and the U.S. has mostly slow-rolled the delivery of arms. Now that stocks of U.S. military supplies have fallen into ISIS’s hands in Mosul, the Administration’s instinct will be to adopt an ultra-cautious approach to further arms deliveries. Mr. Maliki is likely to depend even more on Iran for aid, increasing the spread of the Sunni-Shiite regional conflict.
The Administration’s policy of strategic neglect toward Iraq has created a situation where al Qaeda effectively controls territories stretching for hundreds of miles through Anbar Province and into Syria. It will likely become worse for Iraq as the Assad regime consolidates its gains in Syria and gives ISIS an incentive to seek its gains further east. It will also have consequences for the territorial integrity of Iraq, as the Kurds consider independence for their already autonomous and relatively prosperous region.
We gave away all that we won in Iraq, and now the same terrorist network we have explicitly named as our enemy since 9/11 is coming close to creating its own state in the Middle East, complete with standing army and American arms. We may pretend to be able to wash our hands of this outcome, but sooner or later those oil resources will generate billions of dollars that will flood terrorist accounts and fuel attacks against Israel and the US. Right now, we don’t appear to want to do much about it, even to the extent we still can.

Articles above in conflict with Obama doing anything other than running his mouth !

Iraq Gives Obama Green Light To Commence "Kinetic Support" Against Al Qaeda

Tyler Durden's picture

It appears that the best diversion from Obama's latest bevy of scandals, including the VA snafu and the Bergdahl fiasco, will be yet another war, one which Iraq just gave the green light for. As the WSJ reported moments ago, Iraq has privately signaled to the Obama administration that it would allow the U.S. to conduct airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft against al Qaeda militant targets on Iraqi territory, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.
The Obama administration is considering a number of options, including the possibility of providing "kinetic support" for the Iraqi military fighting al Qaeda rebels who seized two major cities north of Baghdad this week, according to a senior U.S. official who added that no decisions have been made.

Officials declined to say whether the U.S. would consider conducting airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft.
Wait, so the US is now the world's largest mercenary army, doing the bidding of defenseless, third-world governments (which just happen to be drowning in crude)?
Iraq has long asked the U.S. to provide it with drones that could be used in such strikes, but Washington has balked at supplying them, officials said.
Until now.
And just like that the war in Iraq, "Bush's war" according to so many, is about to come back with a vengeance this time under Nobel peace prize winning president, and what makes it most grotesque is that this time the US will be waging combat with at a military force that it itself is training and arming in neighboring Syria.
Which of course is good news for the military-industiral complex and US Q3 GDP, if not so good for millions of innocent civilians soon to be known as "collateral damage."

This request actually was made before by Iraq - and the US said NO !

Iraq Said to Seek U.S. Strikes on Militants

WASHINGTON — As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.
But Iraq’s appeals for military assistance have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.
The swift capture of Mosul by militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has underscored how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have converged into one widening regional insurgency with fighters coursing back and forth through the porous border between the two countries. But it has also cast a spotlight on the limits the White House has imposed on the use of American power in an increasingly violent and volatile region.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, declined to comment on Mr. Maliki’s requests and the administration’s response, saying in a statement, “We are not going to get into details of our diplomatic discussions, but the government of Iraq has made clear that they welcome our support” in combating the Islamic extremists.
The Obama administration has carried out drone strikes against militants in Yemen and Pakistan, where it fears terrorists have been hatching plans to attack the United States. But despite the fact that Sunni militants have been making steady advances and may be carving out new havens from which they could carry out attacks against the West, administration spokesmen have insisted that the United States is not actively considering using warplanes or armed drones to strike them.
Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister, last year floated the idea that armed American-operated Predator or Reaper drones might be used to respond to the expanding militant network in Iraq. American officialsdismissed that suggestion at the time, saying that the request had not come from Mr. Maliki.
By March, however, American experts who visited Baghdad were being told that Iraq’s top leaders were hoping that American air power could be used to strike the militants’ staging and training areas inside Iraq, and help Iraq’s beleaguered forces stop them from crossing into Iraq from Syria.
“Iraqi officials at the highest level said they had requested manned and unmanned U.S. airstrikes this year against ISIS camps in the Jazira desert,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former C.I.A. analyst and National Security Council official, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and who visited Baghdad in early March. ISIS is the acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as the militant group is known.
As the Sunni insurgents have grown in strength those requests have persisted. In a May 11 meeting with American diplomats and Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, Mr. Maliki said that he would like the United States to provide Iraq with the ability to operate drones. But if the United States was not willing to do that, Mr. Maliki indicated he was prepared to allow the United States to carry out strikes using warplanes or drones.
In a May 16 phone call with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Maliki again suggested that the United States consider using American airpower. A written request repeating that point was submitted soon afterward, officials said.
Some experts say that such American military action could be helpful but only if Mr. Maliki takes steps to make his government more inclusive.
“U.S. military support for Iraq could have a positive effect but only if it is conditioned on Maliki changing his behavior within Iraq’s political system,” Mr. Pollack said. “He has to bring the Sunni community back in, agree to limits on his executive authority and agree to reform Iraqi security forces to make them more professional and competent.”
But so far administration has signaled that it not interested in such a direct American military role.
“Ultimately, this is for the Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqi government to deal with,” Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said on Tuesday.
The deteriorating situation in Iraq is not what the Obama administration expected when it withdrew the last American troops from there in 2011. In a March 2012 speech, Antony J. Blinken, who is Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, asserted that “Iraq today is less violent” than “at any time in recent history.”
From the start, experts have stressed that the conflict in Iraq is as much political as military. Mr. Maliki’s failure to include leading Sunnis in his government has heightened the sectarian divisions in Iraq.
But American officials also say that militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria represent a formidable military threat, one that Iraq’s security forces, which lack an effective air force, have been hard pressed to handle on their own.

ISIS grew out of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the militant group that American forces fought during their war there. But while the capabilities of the militants have grown, the Iraq’s military’s effectiveness has diminished.
Adding to that challenge is the fact that the group controls territory on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border, and the Iraq and Syria conflicts have been feeding each other.
Said Lakhdar Brahimi, the former United Nations envoy to the collapsed Syria peace talks: “The region is in trouble, starting with Iraq. When I went to Baghdad in December, I was told that for every 100 operations ISIS did in Syria, it did 1,000 in Iraq.”
Critics say the latest developments show the weakness in an administration strategy designed to shore up Iraqi forces and to combat a growing Islamic militancy in Syria that officials say poses an increasing counterterrorism threat to the United States.
In a speech on Wednesday, Susan E. Rice, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, said that the American effort to buttress Iraq’s forces have been effective. “The United States has been fast to provide necessary support for the people and government of Iraq,” she said in remarks at the Center for New American Security in Washington.
The United States has provided a $14 billion foreign military aid package to Iraq that includes F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters and M-16 rifles. It has rushed hundreds of Hellfire missiles as well as ScanEagle reconnaissance drones.
A second round of counterterrorism training between American Special Operations commandos and Iraqi troops started in Jordan this week. At least two F-16s are set to arrive in Iraq by September, and six Apaches will be leased for training later this year, Iraqi and Pentagon officials said.
But some former generals who served in Iraq said a greater effort was needed.

James M. Dubik, a retired Army lieutenant general who oversaw the training of the Iraqi army during the surge, summed it up this way: “We should fly some of our manned and unmanned aircraft and put advisers into Iraq that can help the Iraqi Army plan and execute a proper defense, then help them transition to a counter offensive.”


Maliki’s sectarian policy backfires in dramatic style

An abandoned Iraqi security forces vehicle is pictured on a road in Tikrit, which was overran by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), June 11, 2014. (Reuters)
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian-based domestic policies backfired this week in a dramatic fashion when his army – pieced together across sectarian lines – quickly fell apart when confronted with jihadist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The sudden collapse of military units defending Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, the late Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit and the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk is reminiscent of the swift disintegration of Saddam’s army at the gates of Baghdad in 2003.
But in 2003, Iraq’s military was poorly armed, with rusty Soviet-made weaponry, and had only years earlier fought a devastating war with neighboring Iran and another one in Kuwait. In addition, Saddam’s army was fighting the most powerful military on the face of the planet and its eventual collapse had come as little surprise to many.
Maliki’s army is of a different class than that of Saddam’s, enjoying modern and sophisticated weaponry, from U.S-made Apache helicopter gunships and F-16 fighter jets to Abrams tanks and Humvees. U.S. occupation authorities alone spent an estimated $16 billion to build the Iraqi army, which they had envisioned would form the backbone of a modern Iraq.
Despite the investment, Maliki’s military has failed to withstand a ragtag of armed jihadists who have seized in very short space of time city after city across Iraq.

ISIS Militants hanging the Islamic Jihad flag on a pole at the top of an ancient military fort after they cut a road through the Syrian-Iraqi border. (AFP)
On Tuesday morning, soldiers withdrew from the northern city of Mosul, leaving behind their vehicles, weapons and even uniforms. Several army commanders also reportedly fled to Kurdish-controlled areas.
Video footage showed ISIS fighters parading army Humvees left behind in the streets of Mosul.
While Maliki blamed a “conspiracy” for the collapse of army units, which are dominated by his Shiite co-religionists, independent observers said the Iraqi leader himself bore responsibility for the failure, citing the sectarian makeup of the military which suffers from a lack of discipline and solid military doctrine.
“The existing forces of al-Qaeda and ISIS are not enough to face the army and police forces but what has happened? How did this happen? How did some military units collapse? I know the reasons, but today we are not going to hold responsible those who carried out this action,” a baffled Maliki said in a televised address on Wednesday.
“The army, police and security forces are much stronger than them but a deception took place and a conspiracy as well. We will deal with it, but after we eliminate their presence, God willing, and by force with the will of the people of the province, and the will of the people of Iraq,” the prime minister added.

Failed state

Adnan Hussein Kadhum, a Baghdad-based political analyst, told Al Arabiya News that the military failure was the result of “the lopsided political process since Maliki took office in 2006.”
“The division of power across sectarian lines created a struggle between various sects of society, which led to a failed state, and this reflects on the state of the military,” Kadhum said.
“The military institution is deeply corrupt and is built on sectarian lines.
Military commanders are given their jobs not on the basis of competency or experience but rather on their sectarian affiliation,” he added.
“You cannot expect an institution built this way to be effective,” Kadhum said.
Haydar Moussawi, a political analyst close to the movement of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, said most of the army is made up of Shiites, a perfectly “natural” state of affairs given that the sect is the dominant one in the Arab country.
“The new army was hastily formed under the U.S. occupation and most of its members were not properly trained and equipped,” Moussawi said.
He noted that many citizens were drawn into the military for “material reasons” given the harsh economic conditions as a result of the U.S.-led invasion.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaks during a meeting with tribal leaders in Mosul in 2012. (File: Reuters)
In his televised address, Maliki said he will form an army of “volunteers” to support the regular government forces in areas seized by ISIS.
Moussawi explained that Maliki could resort to forming a “parallel army” made up of the more religiously indoctrinated Shiite militias to fight ISIS, an al-Qeada inspired group that is also operating in neighboring Syria.
“If the situation continues like this [for the next couple of days], Shiite religious parties will dispatch their militias to support security services in areas controlled by the [Sunni] extremists,” he said.

Civil War?

Ahmad al-Abyad, an Iraqi political observer based in Jordan, warned that any further sectarian mobilization could “drown Iraq in a civil war, God forbid, that may not end for years.”
“These areas that are controlled by ISIS may reinforce local forces who won’t allow the central government to re-exert its influence in this region,” he said, arguing that this was in line with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s 2007 “soft-partition” plan for Iraq.
The plan was similar to the blueprint splitting Bosnia in 1995 and sought to divide Iraq into three autonomous regions – Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite – held together by a central government in Baghdad.

Insurgents take over Tikrit

TikritIslamist insurgents in Iraq have seized the city of Tikrit, their second major gain after capturing Mosul on Tuesday, security officials say. Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein, lies just 150km north of the capital Baghdad.
Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki vowed to fight back against the jihadists and punish those in the security forces who fled, offering little or no resistance.
The insurgents are from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
ISIS, which is also known as ISIL, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
It controls considerable territory in eastern Syria and western and central Iraq, in a campaign to set up a Sunni militant enclave straddling the border.
There were also reports on Wednesday of fighting further south, in Samarra, 110km north of Baghdad.
Separately, at least 21 people were killed and 45 hurt by a suicide bomber at a Shia meeting in Baghdad, police said.
As many as 500,000 people fled Mosul after the militants attacked the city. The head of the Turkish mission in Mosul and almost 50 consulate staff are being held by the militants, Turkish officials say.
Turkey’s foreign minister warned there would be “harsh retaliation” if any of its citizens were harmed.
The insurgents moved quickly south, entering the town of Baiji late on Tuesday.
There were heavy clashes reported in Tikrit, with dozens of insurgents attacking security forces near the headquarters of the Salaheddin provincial government in the city centre. One eye-witness told the BBC that gunmen had entered the city from four different directions and a police station had been set on fire.
ISIS has exploited the stand-off between the Iraqi government and the minority Sunni Arab community, which complains that Shia PM Nouri Maliki is monopolising power.
It has already taken over Ramadi and Falluja, but taking over Mosul is a far greater feat than anything the movement has achieved so far, and will send shockwaves throughout the region
The organisation is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — an obscure figure regarded as a battlefield commander and tactician. He was once the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that later became ISIS.
AFP news agency quoted police and witnesses as saying there was fighting at the northern entrance to Samarra.
Earlier Mr Maliki vowed to fight back against the militants. He has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency.
In a live TV address, he said a “conspiracy” had taken place in Mosul and surrounding Nineveh province.
Mr Maliki said he did not want to apportion blame for who had ordered the security personnel “to retreat and cause chaos”.
He added: “Those who deserted and did not carry out their jobs properly should be punished.”
Mr Maliki told the people of Nineveh: “Do not give in. We are with you, the state is with you, the army is with you. Even if the battle is a long one, we will not let you down.”
He pledged to “reorganise the armed forces to cleanse Nineveh of the terrorists”. The BBC’s Jim Muir says people in Mosul are reporting that militants there have been travelling around the city telling them that they are not in danger — even the Shia residents — and that people should go back to work.
ISIS has been informally controlling much of Nineveh for months, and in the past week has attacked other areas of western and northern Iraq, killing scores of people.
The US has condemned the militants, but BBC world affairs correspondent Paul Adams says the West’s response is not going to be military, as there is no appetite to return to a battleground that claimed thousands of British and American lives. — BBC

Al-Qaeda Jihadis Loot Over $400 Million From Mosul Central Bank, Seize Saddam's Hometown

Tyler Durden's picture

As reported yesterday, in yet another humiliating blow to US foreign policy and the State Department, Al Qaeda-linked ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) militants took over the key northern town of Mosul, where an unknown number of US-made Black Hawk helicopters were parked and have been captured by Al Qaeda (potentially the same forces that have been trained by the US across the border in Syria).
Adding insult to injury the Al Qaeda militants also appear to have looted some $429 million from local banksFrom IBtimes:
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars - the equivalent of $429m (£256m) - from Mosul's central bank, according to the regional governor.

Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi confirmed Kurdish televison reports that Isis militants had stolen millions from numerous banks across Mosul. A large quantity of gold bullion is also believed to have been stolen.

Following the siege of the country's second city, the bounty collected by the group has left it richer than al-Qaeda itself and as wealthy as small nations such as Tonga, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Falkland Islands.

The financial assets that Isis now possess are likely to worsen the Iraqi governement's struggle to defeat the insurgency, which is aimed at creating an Islamic state across the Syrian-Iraqi border.
In other words, now that it is armed with US-made weapons, this particular al-Qaeda group also happens to be the world's richest terror force!
And so with all disposable cash it needs for a long time and armed to the teeth, what is Al Qaeda to do? Why continue expanding of course. Moments ago, via Reuters, we got confirmation that the "insurgents" have just captured yet another symbolic Iraqi town, Tikrit: the birthplace of none other than Saddam.
Sunni insurgents overran parts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday, security sources said.

Tikrit, which is located 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
And on the map:
Will they stop here? Of course not. Expect the ISIS force to continue south until finally it overruns Baghdad itself and until all of Iraq, courtesy of a crippled army, officially belongs to Al Qaeda. America's job is done here.
One can't wait until Al Qaeda is also in charge of all the other countries recently liberated by the US and/or CIA.
USAID in action, supporting ISIS
US-supplied humvees captured by Islamic insurgents in the battle for Mosul