Saturday, July 19, 2014

Iraq Updates (July 19 , 2014 ) - Iraq Army suffers major defeat at Tikrit ( as per various media accounts ) ...... After victory in parts of Syria and Iraq - ISIS begins the transition to governing its new territories ...... Tweets of the morning to consider .....

Islamic State gunmen overran a former U.S. military base early Friday and killed or captured hundreds of Iraqi government troops who’d been trying to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, the worst military reversal Iraqi troops have suffered since the Islamist forces captured nearly half the country last month.
The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.
Instead, Islamic State forces turned back the army’s thrust up the main highway Wednesday. Beginning late Thursday, the Islamist forces stormed Camp Speicher, a former U.S. military base named for a pilot who disappeared during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and overwhelmed the troops there.
Witnesses reached by phone, who asked not be identified for security reasons, said that by Friday morning the final pocket of government troops had collapsed, an ignominious end for a counteroffensive that had begun with a helicopter assault into Tikrit University but ended with troops trapped at Camp Speicher.
There was no comment from the Iraqi government. On Wednesday, the military had acknowledged that its forces had made what it called a “tactical retreat” to Ajwa, a town about 10 miles south of Tikrit, after the push into the city failed.


After Sweeping Gains, ISIS Tries to Govern Iraq, Syria

ISIS Aims to Put the State in 'Islamic State'

by Jason Ditz, July 18, 2014
If there’s one thing ISIS can do it’s take over cities. The group has swept through some of the most valuable parts of Syria, then proceeded to take not only Iraq’s restive Anbar Province, but major cities like Mosul as well.
The conquering comes easy for them. Administration is the challenge now, as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is no longer just a speculative name, it’s a very real state.
That’s proving tricky for ISIS, as their extreme interpretation of Shariah Law wasn’t necessarily popular among the locals in places they’ve taken over, and the group has tried to balance their ideology with political expediency, toning down rules and punishments in newly seized cities like Mosul, while cracking down harshly in their de facto capital of Raqqa.
Courts are the easy part for ISIS, which has plenty of would be Islamic court leaders to turn loose on those sorts of problems, but the group aims to also do all the things modern states do, and that means health care provision, road repair, welfare, and general city services in places under their immediate control.
In smaller towns, ISIS appears to be content to mostly turn over day-to-day operations to allied tribal leaders. That may be easier for locals to deal with as well, because unlike other Islamist factions that have come to power, the ISIS leadership is largely outsiders who came to Syria and Iraq specifically for jihad, and don’t have local ties.
If Raqqa is the model for the long-term, however, it a stark one, as ISIS not only imposes extremely harsh penalties for violators of Islamic law, but has set up something of a command economy, where their large bankroll is keeping things afloat, but private commerce is all but impossible.

In Mosul, Iraqi Christians Told They Must Convert, Pay Tax, or Die

Group Offers Jizya Tax as Alternative

by Jason Ditz, July 18, 2014
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) followed today’s Friday prayers with a release of new documents in Mosul, ordering the city’s Christian community to either agree to convert to Islam or to pay the jizya tax, saying they face “death as a last resort.”
At one point Mosul had a fairly large Christian minority, estimated at over 3,000. Most are believed to have fled when ISIS first invaded, however, and it isn’t clear how many are even left.
The move appears to be in linewith what ISIS did in Raqqa, where the Christian community entered into a dhimmitude agreement involving the payment of gold dinars (smaller amounts for poorer families) to remain Christian under ISIS rule.
Jizya was original intended as an equivalent to the Zakat payments Muslims are required to make, during an era when those charitable contributions were largely managed by Muslim states. The idea was that jizya would prevent the cost of the Zakat being a conversion obstacle. In addition to getting legal permission to continue to practice the non-state religion, jizya payers are traditionally also exempt from conscription.
Many Iraqi Christians, those who didn’t flee during the bloody US occupation, have fled northward, into Iraqi Kurdistan, and it is unclear how many remain at all in ISIS territory. In Syria, however, Christians have largely not been able to flee so easily, and ISIS retains a significant Christian minority in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

270 Syrian Troops, Guards Killed in ISIS Takeover of Gas Field

90 More Workers Remain Unaccounted For

by Jason Ditz, July 18, 2014
In what is shaping up to be among the bloodiest single exchanges of the entire Syrian Civil War, ISIS moved against an important gas field in Homs Province yesterday,seizing it after a 12-hour battle.
The initial reports said about 23 people were dead, but there were hundreds missing at the time, and the news isn’t good. The latest figures from rebel mouthpiece the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the toll at 270 killed, including Syrian troops, paramilitary guards, and workers.
Even this massive toll may not be the end of it, as 90 other guards and workers who were at the site still remain unaccounted for, and were believed captured by ISIS during the attack.
Not only does the takeover of the gas field, near Palmyra, give ISIS another major energy asset, but it is among their deepest westward expansions into Syria, underscoring that the size of their “caliphate” is not set in stone, and is continuing to increase.

Tweets of the morning ......

Massive fires inside 8th Brigade in after fierce bombardment by anti groups an hour ago.

Intense military aerial activity over now.

 Retweeted by Memlik Pasha
Musings On Iraq Costs Of Iraq’s Kurds Moving Into The Disputed Territories

>“The Govt forces, a mix of Army, special forces units and Shiite militias, have been destroyed"

'has given up on the army - plans to replicate the plan and train his own elite fighters'

 Retweeted by Wladimir
Efforts should be made to stop the spread to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey. Iraq is finished as an entity, now it is three

there are more than 1million refugees in Kurdistan. More than 250,000 of them are Syrian Kurds & the rest Iraqi Arabs