militiamen, 3,000 Iraqi troops, led by Iranian troops and officers, tanks,
and weapons. In other words we will be giving air-support to the number one state sponsor of terrorism…Iran.
According to the Associated Press the U.S. bombing raids have begun:
A senior U.S. official says the U.S. has begun airstrikes in Tikrit in support of a stalled Iraqi ground offensive to retake the city from Islamic State fighters.
An Associated Press reporter in Tikrit reported hearing warplanes overhead late Wednesday, followed by multiple explosions.
Earlier today the Daily Beast reported that the only thing the USAF was waiting for was an official request from Iraq.
“The preparatory work is probably already done. The [U.S. military] has started to bring in more assets for a Tikrit air support campaign,” an adviser to the U.S. government tasked with monitoring and engaging with Iraqi officials told The Daily Beast. “Unless there is an impediment on the Iraqi side, and I don’t see it happening, the campaign could begin within days.”
In an interview with Reuters that was published Wednesday, Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said air strikes would begin soon.
“The Iraqi government along with residents of the area wanted an active contribution from the international coalition,” Massoum told Reuters.
An American air strike campaign in Tikrit would mark an important shift in the ISIS war. Iraqi officials did not engage their American counterparts before they launched the offensive on Tikrit March 1, with Iranian generals and tanks by their side. And the American military has long insisted that it wouldn’t coordinate too closely with the Iranians, even as both forces fight a common enemy in Iraq: ISIS.
But if we are bombing ISIS in support of their ground force there needs to be plenty of coordination.
This move is both good and bad. On one hand of course we want ISIS defeated, but on the other if they are defeated with the help (and leadership) of Iran there is a very strong possibility that Iraq could become nothing but a satellite of Iran.
Just two weeks ago the Wall Street Journal warned:
While Washington focuses on Iran-U.S. nuclear talks, the Islamic Republic is making a major but little-noticed strategic advance. Iran’s forces are quietly occupying more of Iraq in a way that could soon make its neighbor a de facto Shiite satellite of Tehran.
And the Shiite-dominated Iraq which developed after Obama had our troops abandon the gains they made during the surge is how the madness with the ISIS started. If Iraq is ever to find peace there needs to be a sharing of power between Shiite and Sunni.