Friday, October 17, 2014

Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates ( October 17 , 2014 ) -- ISIS makes gains in Iraq while fought to a standstill at Kobane ( Syria ) .... Tweets of the day...

Anti War ....

Gen. Allen: ISIS Making Substantial Gains in Iraq

Insists Kobani Airstrikes 'For Humanitarian Purposes'

by Jason Ditz, October 16, 2014
Former Afghan War commander and President Obama’s point-man on the new ISIS War, retired General John Allen continued to offer assessments on the ongoing conflict, insisting today that it was too soon to say whether or not the US is winning the war.
That said, Allen conceded that ISIS is continuing to make “substantial gains” on the ground in Iraq, and still has “tactical momentum” in several areas around western Iraq.
Most of ISIS territorial gains in Iraq in recent days have centered around the Anbar Province, where they are quickly mopping up the last of the Iraqi government’s territory and moving on the second largest airbase in the country. The push to Anbar’s edge leaves them only a stone’s throw from Baghdad itself.
Allen went on to address the US airstrikes around Kobani, saying they were done for “humanitarian purposes” and that the US continues to maintain that the town itself has no strategic value for the US.
The losses in Iraq are clearly mounting, and at best Kobani itself is a stalemate, with ISIS not taking the town as quickly as predicted, but far from defeated in its latest push toward the border town.

Bombs and Mortars: ISIS Increasingly Targeting Baghdad

US: No 'Imminent' Threat of ISIS Taking Capital

by Jason Ditz, October 16, 2014
The Iraqi capital of Baghdad is not under imminent threat of falling to ISIS, according to US officials familiar with the defensive situation, but it’s far from business as usual with the Islamists fast approaching from the west.
As they approach, car bombs are becoming all the more common in the capital, with ISIS attacking police checkpoints and other security infrastructure with aggressive strikes.
Suicide bombings are nothing new in Baghdad, even if the rate is increasing. What is new, however, is that ISIS is also carrying out mortar attacks against the capital’s Shi’ite neighborhoods.
Mortar strikes are an inaccurate game, but they keep the population on edge about an outright invasion, and if they can hit northern Baghdad, they presumably can also hit the airport, in the city’s far west.
That could be a game-changer for the US, which has positioned large numbers of troops at the embassy and the airport, and escalated the war to include Apache helicopters primarily to keep the airport from coming under direct threat. If ISIS can start hitting the runways, and it seems likely they can, the US loses its escape plan for Baghdad.

Iraq PM Poised to Grant Interior Ministry to Powerful Shi’ite Militia

Badr Brigade Held Up Previous Nominees

by Jason Ditz, October 16, 2014
Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi tried to offer consensus choices for Defense and Interior Ministers last month, and was quickly shot down by the Badr Brigade, a powerful Shi’ite militia that claims it deserves both offices.
Though Sunnis had praised Abadi previously for not giving in to them, and resisting their demands, it looks like his resistance has worn out, and the brigade is going to get at least the Interior Ministry.
Reports tonight are that the Badr Brigade’s current leader, Transportation Minister Hadi Amiri, is going to be given the Interior Ministry spot, and that Abadi will try to re-nominate Sunni Jaber Jaberi as Defense Minister.
Jaberi has already been shot down by the Shi’ites, who are uncomfortable seeing a Sunni in such a powerful position. That the Badr Brigade got the Interior Ministry through kicking and screaming is likely to lead other major Shi’ite factions to hold out for a concession of their won, and the Badrs themselves are sure to lead the way in pushing for that portfolio as well.

Kurdish Fighters Stall ISIS Advance Into Kobani

Commanders Claim ISIS Driven Out of Much of the Town

by Jason Ditz, October 16, 2014
A month into the ISIS push against the Kurdish border town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic), the Kurdish forces in the city are continuing to hold out, and have even made some progress.
Commanders of the Kurdish force say that they’ve driven ISIS out of parts of the town, and that they believe they can take back the “pockets of resistance” of the ISIS fighters elsewhere.
Exactly what’s going on the ground remains unclear, as Kurdish factions are keen to manage the narrative. People across the border in Turkey, however, reported considerable fighting is still visibly ongoing in the city.
Though when the battle for Kobani was going poorly the US insisted it was not a “priority,” the Obama Administration has launched scores of airstrikes in and around Kobani, and if the Kurds manage to expel ISIS, even temporarily, expect US officials to change their tune and tout this as a vindication of their war strategy.
ISIS has tried to take Kobani several times, unsuccessfully, and has significant reinforcements incoming. Needless to say, the battle for the town remains far from resolved.

Morning Tweets.....

BREAKING: fighters withdraw from Syria's embattled - RT sources

Reports from SOHR that is flying MiG-21 or MiG-23 aircraft from al-Jarrah airbase in eastern Rīf Halab:

PT: Pilots from the Saddam-era Iraqi Air Force are reportedly training flying the aircraft and training new pilots.

Heavy fight in ongoing in east & south. ISIS snt about 20 mortars insde city ystrdy ISIS attemps 2 seize bordr gate continue

While says ISIS is training pilots for 3 captured jets, says ISIS has done its 1st helicopter attack.

As focus is on , gains made by Syrian army elsewhere have largely gone unnoticed -

200 US advisers arrive at Camp Speicher outside of Tikirt Salahaddin

ISIS lost “many men", Kobane leader tells me, "but they keep sending car bombs, mortar shells and yet more fighters"