The battle for Baghdad 101

Continuing from our post below, Civil war in Iraq … 

As so often of late, the fullest reporting of events in the Middle East is to be found in the Daily Mail. (Its report is also lavishly illustrated with dramatic pictures.)

    The battle for Baghdad is nigh: Thousands of men answer Iraqi government’s call to arms as ISIS jihadists bear down on capital

  • Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken over Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul and town of Tikrit
  • Government forces have stalled the militants’ advance near Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad
  • ISIS’s goal is to create a Islamic caliphate (state) – it already controls territory in eastern Syria and western/central Iraq
  • Iraq’s parliament were to hold an emergency session today but it was postponed due to an opposition boycott
  • Kurdish forces are in full control of Iraq’s oil city of Kirkuk after the federal army abandoned their posts 
  • Iran has sent special forces and a unit of elite troops to Iraq to assist the Iraqi government halt the advance
  • Turkey is negotiating for the release of 80 nationals held by Islamist militants in Mosul
  • Iraqi air force is bombing insurgent positions in and around Mosul – 1.3 million citizens still remain in the city

(Much detail follows.)

Now that Iranian special forces are coming to the aid of their Shiite brethren in Baghdad, the outcome of the battle for the city is less likely to be another victory for the Sunni forces of ISIS.

*

From the same source:

Iraqi Kurds seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk today as the central government’s army abandoned its posts in a rapid collapse that has lost it control of the north.

Peshmerga fighters, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, swept into Kirkuk after the army abandoned its posts there … 

Kurds have long dreamed of taking Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves just outside their autonomous region, which they regard as their historical capital.

The swift move by their highly organized security forces demonstrates how this week’s sudden advance by fighters of the Al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has redrawn Iraq’s map.

We reckon the map of Iraq, and of the whole region, will need to be drawn many times in the coming months – and maybe years. Iran is not likely to tolerate an ISIS – ie Sunni – conquest of Iraq. And if it has it’s armies there, it is in a strong position to attack Israel.

If ISIS were to take Baghdad, it plans to move on to attempt seizing control of  Jordan, Gaza, Sinai, and Lebanon. It’s ultimate target in the region is also, of course, Israel.

What will Hamas do? More importantly, what will Egypt do?

Britain is offering humanitarian aid to Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki.

The US will … ?

Posted under Civil war, Commentary, Iran, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Muslims, News, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 12, 2014

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