October 30, 2014

SHI'A/CHRISTIANS/HINDUS/JEWS VS SUNNI:

The U.S.-Iran non-alliance alliance against Islamic State (Aki Peritz and Faris Alikhan, October 29, 2014, Reuters)

The Iraqi Army is largely a wreck, unable to retake northern Iraq from Islamic State and its allies. The army is in such a sorry state that it allied over the summer with murderous Shi'ite militias -- many trained by Iran and Hezbollah outside of the country -- to make limited gains.

In addition, Iranian handlers, led by the omnipresent Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani (who has appeared in a lot of photos lately), backed Shi'ite militias, Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga and repulsed Islamic State from the Iraqi town of Amerli, all aided by U.S. warplanes. Those involved strenuously denied that Washington and Tehran coordinated any military action -- but U.S. airstrikes helped turn the tide against the militants.

Presumably military planners on all sides view this as a model -- if a terribly flawed one -- for future battles against Islamic State. The United States provides airpower, the key piece of modern warfare that Iran and its proxies cannot replicate, and one that Islamic State militants now do not seem to have effective countermeasures against.

Iran has also appeared willing to deploy its elite and regular ground forces to achieve specific goals in the Iraqi battle zone. Both countries are also concerned with "mission creep," so each seems willing to stay out of each other's way.

Posted by at October 30, 2014 6:15 PM
  

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