"... a new insurgent artillery offensive against Christian villages in the north of Iraq on Wednesday sent thousands of Christians fleeing from their homes, seeking sanctuary in the Kurdish enclave. The shelling of the a cluster of villages happened in an area known as Hamdaniya, 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the frontier of the self-ruled Kurdish region." firstpost
So, the rebels have field artillery now. They did not bring that into Iraq, so one must conclude that they captured these guns from the the "Lions of the North," i.e., (Maliki's "army") Note that artillery normally means field guns of 105 mm or larger. Iraq had until recently a wide variety of field guns in calibers from 122 mm to 155 mm. These have ranges of 15 to 20 miles (approximately). ISIS style headchoppers have no ability to employ such toys unless they want to squint down the barrels and pull the lanyards. Don't laugh. I have seen the fighting Yemeni Army do exactly that with 155 mm howitzers against tribals after the soldiers ran out of patience with the whole business of indirect fire. The old Iraqi Army had a lot of artillery and there must be no lack of talent to man these guns. This artillery will pound anything they are used against into rubble and dust. pl
"The Syrian air force carried out air strikes targeting militants along the Iraq-Syria border this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the BBC.
Maliki told the British broadcaster he "welcomed" any such strike against militants led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but noted Baghdad did not request the aerial raids which took place on Tuesday." firstpost
So... The Iraq and Syrian governments are cooperating militarily against ISIS. So... the US is helping Maliki fight ISIS while still insisting that Maliki's ally, Bashar al Assad, is a BAD, BAD MAN!! Does that make any sense? The friend of our friend is... What? Why does Maliki "welcome" Syrian Air Force action against these Iraqi border towns. Simple, these towns in western Iraq are altogether Sunni inhabited. Therefore... pl
"Powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Wednesday voiced opposition to US military advisers who have begun meeting with Iraqi commanders, and warned that his supporters would "shake the ground" in combatting militants.
"We will shake the ground under the feet of ignorance and extremism," he said, referring to Sunni insurgents who have overrun a swathe of territory in the past two weeks, in a televised speech from the Shiite holy city of Najaf." firstpost
Self explanatory. Any American, Canadian or Brit who is in the Baghdad area should get out NOW if they possibly can, Shia attacks on Westerners are a certainty. I wonder how much of the US Embassy has been emptied out. pl
"Insurgents have surrounded a massive air base nearby, which was known as "Camp Anaconda" under U.S. occupation, and struck it with mortars. Eyewitnesses said the air base had been surrounded on three sides." ibtimes
So... The Iraqi air force has recently possessed a flock of helicopters many of which are of Soviet or Russian manufacture. The old Iraq Air force had masses of such helicopters. Once again there will be no lack of talent among the rebels. That air base, as well as Balad and Taji, also north of Baghdad, is a rich prize in terms of materiel, spare parts, fuel, and airordnance. So... The rebels are going to have an airforce eventually.
We already know that the rebels captured a lot of armored fighting vehicles and have been moving the around.
The prospects are not good. pl