The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.
Instead, Islamic State forces turned back the army’s thrust up the main highway Wednesday. Beginning late Thursday, the Islamist forces stormed Camp Speicher, a former U.S. military base .
Witnesses reached by phone, who asked not be identified for security reasons, said that by Friday morning the final pocket of government troops had collapsed, an ignominious end for a counteroffensive that had begun with a helicopter assault into Tikrit University but ended with troops trapped at Camp Speicher.
There was no comment from the Iraqi government. On Wednesday, the military had acknowledged that its forces had made what it called a “tactical retreat” to Ajwa, a town about 10 miles south of Tikrit, after the push into the city failed." Miami Herald
The "tactical retreat" to Ajwa became yet another massive defeat for the Shia run government. IMO there is nothing short of a full blown intervention by Iran or use of US strategic air (conventional munitions only) that can prevent an IS coalition advance to Baghdad. Baghdad International Airport is a logical objective in the next phase of the IS coalition campaign. This would physically isolate the government and put the renewed US effort to support that government in an untenable position. Having done that, a next phase would almost certainly be occupation of the Sunni inhabited western parts of the city.
Meanwhile, in Mosul, IS is giving Christian Iraqis the classic choice that conquering Muslim armies gave to the occupied in the beginning of Islam. That choice is; 1- Convert, 2- pay the "Jizya" a capitation tax on each member of a conquered community of "people of the book," 3 - Die. pl
"Militant group Islamic State killed 270 soldiers, guards and staff when they captured a Syrian gas field on Thursday in the bloodiest clash yet between the al Qaeda offshoot and President Bashar al-Assad's forces, a monitoring group said on Saturday.
The anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday that 90 people had been killed and that many were missing after the attack against the Sha'ar gas field east of Homs in central Syria.
But on Saturday, the Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of sources in the country on both sides, quoted "trusted sources" as saying that the Islamic State had "killed and executed" 270 people during the assault. It said at least 40 Islamic State fighters were killed in the offensive." Reuters
OK. IS fights the Syrian Arab Government and wins. Are we still against the Syrian Government? I had lunch yesterday with a Syrian who held a high position in the government until he dared to criticize the political acumen of Bashar. He then became a non-person and left the country. I told him that his experience reminded of that of an Egyptian acquaintance who was Inspector General of the government and who told Mubarak that "some people" said his sons were corrupt. This retired Egyptian General immediately lost his job and also became a "non--person." The Syrian pointed out that actual, core IS fighters are bringing a lot of captured US supplied equipment back into Syria to use against other anti-Assad forces as well as the SAG. This Syrian heads a Gulf based regional studies group. He also thinks that what the Iraqi government faces is a coalition of; ISIS, tribals and ex-Iraqi Army from the army we disbanded and who then fought us for years. In Syria it is a different situation. ISIS in Syria fights more or less alone with a strong infusion of international jihadis in their ranks. They, nevertheless, seem to have little difficulty using the captured equipment. pl
"Only days after NBC removed him from its coverage of the fighting in Gaza, the correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin will be reinstated and sent back into the region, the network said Friday evening.
The decision to pull Mr. Mohyeldin off the story, after he witnessed an Israeli air attack that killed four Palestinian children and then posted remarks on Twitter about it, prompted a round of questions, and much criticism of NBC among Internet commenters." NY Times
Good work folks. Keep it up. pl