Tag Archives: Iraq

Looking East

The news out of Iraq is disturbing, if not unexpected. Pray for the safety of our people and our allies.

Also, be very cautious about reacting to the news of the moment. We will know more tomorrow and even more next week. This could be a relatively empty show of force by Iran’s leaders for the benefit of domestic concerns. It could be the beginning of a full-scale attack (unlikely). It could be a hasty reaction with no clear strategic direction. It could be a lot of things. Time will tell. Right now, prayers and sober, thoughtful consideration is the order of the day.

U.S. Beefs up Embassy Security After Attack

Things in the Middle East are not always as they seem and I am not convinced that we know the whole story here. It is exceedingly strange for Iranian militants to operate in Iraq as the Iraqis look on, but that appears to be what happened. Why? Who is really behind it? What was the purpose? What reaction are they trying to get out of the U.S.? In any case, beefing up security to make it clear that we will defend our people is a prudent course of action.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Charging that Iran was “fully responsible” for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, President Donald Trump ordered about 750 U.S. soldiers deployed to the Middle East as about 3,000 more prepared for possible deployment in the next several days.

No U.S. casualties or evacuations were reported after the attack Tuesday by dozens of Iran-supported militiamen. U.S. Marines were sent from Kuwait to reinforce the compound.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday night that “in response to recent events” in Iraq, and at Trump’s direction, he authorized the immediate deployment of the infantry battalion from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He did not specify the soldiers’ destination, but a U.S. official familiar with the decision said they will go to Kuwait.

“This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today,” Esper said in a written statement.

Additional soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s quick-deployment brigade, known officially as its Immediate Response Force, were prepared to deploy, Esper said. The U.S. official, who provided unreleased details on condition of anonymity, said the full brigade of about 4,000 soldiers may deploy.

Another observation.

Tuesday’s crowds, which included militia leaders and Shiite politicians, did not breach the embassy compound itself, but they did make it past an outer wall, charging up to the embassy security gates, staring U.S. security personnel in the face and smashing and torching property outside.

How was that possible?

“Because it was planned,” said Ganyard. “Look at the overhead views of the protest. Carefully abiding by set limits. … It was staged and had the approval of the Iraqi government.”

“The Iraqi government was never going to let Iranian proxies take over the U.S. embassy,” he added. But they had to let them get far enough to let off steam and to dissipate some of the anger in those ranks.

Iran, however, doesn’t want things to go so far that the U.S. has a reason to strike its personnel.

IS Pushed Completely Out of Iraq

Good news!

(CNN)The Iraqi military has “fully liberated” all of Iraq’s territory of “ISIS terrorist gangs” and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, it said Saturday in a statement.

“Our heroic armed forces have now secured the entire length of the Iraq-Syria border,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on his Twitter account. “We defeated Daesh (ISIS) through our unity and sacrifice for the nation. Long live Iraq and its people.”

Iraqi Forces Move into Kirkuk

Self-determination for me, but not for thee.

Iraqi government forces have entered central Kirkuk, residents say, after taking key installations outside the disputed city from Kurdish fighters.

Witnesses told the BBC they saw federal forces entering the provincial government building.

Clashes were reported south of Kirkuk earlier in the day, while thousands of residents fled the city.

It comes three weeks after the Kurdistan region held a controversial independence referendum.

While Kirkuk is not inside Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish voters inside the city were allowed to take part.

Iraq’s prime minister has said the vote – in which residents of Kurdish-controlled areas, including Kirkuk, overwhelmingly backed secession – was unconstitutional.

We’re seeing this elsewhere in the world and it is the normal response. When Catalans want to break off and form their own nation, the Spanish authorities move in with force. When Kurds want to break off and form their own nation, the Iraqi authorities move in with force. Come to think of it, when South Carolinians wanted to break off and form their own nation, the American authorities moved in with force. The truth is that while the international community talks a good game about self-determination, they only ever really support it when it’s convenient.

Iraq Declares Defeat of IS

I sure hope so.

Iraqi troops have seized the ruins of Mosul’s grand mosque from Isis, the military said in an announcement, declaring the extremists’ reign in the country to be over.

“Their fictitious state has fallen,” military spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told state TV on Thursday – three years to the day since Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of the so-called caliphate from the same spot.

Battle To Retake Mosul Begins Again

Godspeed.

A military operation to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from so-called Islamic State (IS) has begun, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says.

An offensive to retake the city, Iraq’s second largest, has been planned for months.

Mosul has been under IS control since June 2014.

Iraq and Syria Will Cease to Exist

In other words, the Islamic State is winning.

“I’m having a tough time seeing it come back together,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told an industry conference, speaking of Iraq and Syria, both of which have seen large chunks territory seized by the Islamic State.

On Iraq, Stewart said he is “wrestling with the idea that the Kurds will come back to a central government of Iraq,” suggesting he believed it was unlikely. On Syria, he added: “I can see a time in the future where Syria is fractured into two or three parts.”

That is not the U.S. goal, he said, but it’s looking increasingly likely.

CIA Director John Brennan, speaking on the same panel at an industry conference, noted that the countries’ borders remain in place, but the governments have lost control of them. A self-declared caliphate by the Islamic State straddles the border between both countries.