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21 March 2015

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bth

FYI The McClatchy link is the same as the wiki recoilless rifle.

bth

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/03/20/260513/operation-to-retake-tikrit-from.html McClatchy link

mike

reportedly at least one Irani Qods Force general officer (Sadeq Yari) was KIA in Tikrit,and possibly two.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=916_1426871164

The Twisted Genius

That's the Russian SPG-9. It fires a 73mm At or frag round that looks more like an RPG round than our 106 or 90 recoilless rifle rounds. Range is about 1000 meters.

oth

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN)The U.S. military is in the process of evacuating about 100 Special Operations forces members from the Al Anad airbase in Yemen due to that country's deteriorating security situation, sources in the region familiar with the situation told CNN.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/21/politics/yemen-unrest/

Sd

I recall the same thing said about Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti when the Iraqi air force would attack the Iranian oil facilities on Kharg island. The point being that they would not commit enough planes, to do enough damage. They were unwilling to take the losses which would inevitably result in downed planes.

But that was the an earlier chapter of this long sordid tale, 30 years ago. We need a chronicler to compile, chapter and verse, this long descent into madness and chaos.

Are these the birth pangs of Condoleeza Rice's redesigned middle east? Is this the road to peace in that goes through Baghdad then to Jerusalem? Is this the clarifying effect that a demonstration of force brings? Is this strategic gain for the U.S.?

Did someone advise that this was a bad idea

Someone did. Air Force General Mubarak said it 10 years ago in Suez.

"When it is over, if it is over, this war [in Iraq] will have horrible consequences….Terrorism will be aggravated….Instead of one bin Laden there will be one hundred bin Ladens. Terrorist organizations will be united. Everything will be insecure."

Well they are here, in Tunis, in Sanaa, in Derna, Daraa, Raqaa, Fallujah and the two Tripolis, etcetera.

It is a shame that the nation (U.S.) does not seem to have any strategists, or and if they exist, they are ignored.
The hubristic arrogance defies comprehension. What a cluster.

The wider middle east now looks like Lebanon in 1975. It seems we are in the 30 years war ( or hundred years war). What a tragedy to befall mankind.

I wish the realists would/could take back the reins of U.S. foreign policy. The war fever and the rush to engage in a proxy war with Russia, against Russian speaking Russians, in Russian named villages on the wrong side of the Dnieper river is astonishing. 13 years after one stupid war, why are they trying to gin up another one?

I doubt that the Ukrainian conscripts want to take enough casualties to achieve the Kiev regime's objectives.
The nuclear armed 'regional power' is another story, Moscow seems willing. Willing and able.

As the permanent election season turns into high gear, it will be yet again painful to hear the Foreign policy prescriptions of the mediocre candidates as as they try to out-McCain each other. God help us all.

Croesus

Adam Schiff registered concern that Iran is too influential in Iraq.

@ 49 min http://www.c-span.org/video/?324912-1/washington-journal-03212015

"REP SCHIFF: I’m very concerned about Iran’s increasing role in Iraq, the degree to which— frankly, Iraqis are very public about it, with billboards about it and open statement by the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government wants to reclaim their cities, and they want to do it sooner rather than later.

And while I understand that impulse, at the same time, if they go rushing into places like Tikrit or Mosul, and they want to substitute real readiness in the form of an Iraqi armed force that has strong Sunni complements, as well as Shiite, they may end up trying to win the battle but losing the war.

If you have Iranian-dominated Shia militias going into Sunni towns, and after the battle is won ethnically cleansing them, hauling people out on a list and shooting them, as we have allegations at places like Diyala, they are going to drive the Sunni tribes even further into league with ISIL. That would be a terrible course of events. So I worry about it in terms of defeating ISIL, and I worry about it in terms of the long-term situation in Iraq, if Iraq becomes a sort of satellite of Iran.

I think a lot of what is happening turns some expectations on their head, that many had before the Iraq war, when people thought, well, these are traditional enemies, you have the Iraqis and the Persians, they don’t speak the same language, they are not part of the same ethnic group, and nonetheless we see how dominant Iran has become in Iraq and that’s of grave concern to us.”

Astonishing.
Iraq & Iran getting along together is “of grave concern”
Is Schiff letting a cat out out the bag?

confusedponderer

My first idea was an Italian 80mm Folgore, but the end is more angular on this one. So you're right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPG-9

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breda_Folgore

confusedponderer

"The Syrian government is using a methodology that is similarly focused on economy of force concepts"

Pat,
being under siege/embargo, with an opposition supplied from the outside (through Jordan and Turkey and by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US), not by choice I think but out of necessity.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The question is Tikrit encircled? If it is, starve them to death. If not, the battle is pointless. The Shiites have to build a defensible border; ethnic cleanse within, and secure a land line to their enclaves to the West. The strategic advice that NATO is giving is piss poor from Ukraine to Afghanistan. It is far beyond the delusions of being the indispensable nation, the best of all possible worlds; six trillion dollars will be spent and thousands of lives will be lost without one Western crook being jailed. The only purpose has to be to expand and perpetuate chaos.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-wars-in-afghanistan-iraq-to-cost-6-trillion/5350789

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/petraeus-iraq-iran-islamic-state-116255.html

America’s contradictory goals of overthrowing the Assad regime and at the same time defeating the Islamic State is basically crazy.

turcopolier

CP

"not by choice I think but out of necessity." I didn't say anything about their motivation. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think anyone could have predicted, in 1982, when Israelis invaded Lebanon, that that single event would put Iran back on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea after an absence of 2300 years.

Truly, the Great King would have been pleased.

Babak Makkinejad

When Iran and Iraq were monarchies, they got along fine.

It was the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq and subsequent Arab National Socialism project in Iraq that damaged their relationships - in my opinion.

Now that they both have become Shia republics - the situation has reverted to what obtained before 1958.

I think juxtaposing Arabs and Iranians as traditional enemies is a deliberate historical lie - Arabs were not playing a role in the history of Mesopotamia for centuries - Ottomans and various Iranian dynasties were the historical actors.

Arabs started acting after World War II - when the Faranji left and the new independence got to their heads.

ISL

VV:

lets presume Tikrit is encircled. Given the levels of corruption endemic in the Iraqi army, would that mean anything? Wouldn't that also expose a large fraction of the entire Iraqi militia's to degrading attacks, in poorly defended locations (versus their base in Baghdad)?

Surrounded Kobani withstood half a year of continuous US airstrikes and attacks by the more motivated Kurds.

If the Iraqi govt over-extends on Tikrit, expect to see more parts of the "wall" collapse - and ISIS expand.

The strategic choice in defending a city is to pull back from indefensible suburbs and lure the attacking force into the dense urban area - i.e., good IS strategy that apparently is succeeding very well.

To summarize: The Iraqi Govt has demonstrated that it maintains an unrealistically high opinion of its military capabilities - just as it did before.

turcopolier

ISL

I agree that "encirclement" would not mean much at Tikrit. There is a lot of desert between the roads and infiltratio at night quite possible. pl

JLCG

My feeling is that these wars along the edges of the NATO Empire manifest that the Empire has decided not to spread further. The value of what has to be conquered apparently is not worth the life of a Pomeranian.
Today we are told that the USA is withdrawing Special Operation personnel from Yemen. The US does not want to risk death of its personnel and apparently the Iraqis as I read in this blog are also reluctant. Not to speak of the Saudis and Jordanians. So at present the Empire has a limes along the Dnieper, the Black sea and then a completely undefined area of control where the ancient Emessa and Edessa and Nisibis were.
The Islamic consciousness is spreading along the Mediterranean.
It is not difficult to envision attacks within Europe.
So now the Empire has to protect some undefined edges and concern itself with a guarantee of safety within itself.
Awakenings of Islamic fervor are not rare. They last some time and then die out.
At least that is my impression.

Tyler

CP,

I think that Syria is in a better position than Iraq, as its Sunni/Shia/Alawite cosmopolitan blend seems to work together better.

Also, they've got HA and Iranian Quds in their corner as well. HA especially is probably the best military in the region, and their light infantry is likely the best in the world, pound for pound. I don't think we will see wild swings in territory like with Iraq - once Syria retakes something, it stays retaken.

Israel and the other countries may have dug their own grave, because the new Syrian Army is going to be a battle hardened beast when this is all said and done.

Peter C

Bring back the Ontos!!
The Ontos, a light tracked vehicle with 6 106 mm rifles. Bad Ass!!

The Ontos, officially the Rifle, Multiple 106 mm, Self-propelled, M50

Piotr, Poland

Are you ready for the problems?

Daesh claims they've broken US Army military servers and begin to publish the names, photos and addresses of the pilots, who bombed Kobani and other areas:

https://justpaste.it/ISHDLEAK

ex-PFC Chuck

re Sd @ 12:43 pm: "I wish the realists would/could take back the reins of U.S. foreign policy."

Does anyone here (presumably mainly USA citizens) have an indication of where former senator and possible presidential candidate Jim Webb stands in this regard? More specifically would he be receptive to the suggestion that all known neocons and sympathizers be required to wear GPS-enabled ankle bracelets that would sound an alarm whenever they got within 50 miles of DC or attempted to call an area 202 phone number? Just kidding (sort of) about the ankle bracelets. Not about the desire for input on Sen. Webb's position on this.

robt willmann

Here is an article from the Marine Corps Gazette in 2000 about the battles for Grozny by the Russian military in 1996, 1998, and 2000. Different terrain and climate, but the same problem exists: attacking a city--

http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/Rusn_leslrn.htm

Pirouz

Correct, SPG-9 Kopye (Spear) 73 mm recoilless gun. Both Iran and Iraq are equipped with it, giving Iran the ability to supply ammunition to Iraqi forces using the weapon.

That's been a key feature of the Iran-led coalition against ISIL in Iraq: Iran's ability to supply its allied forces.

I'd be interested to know how well these Iran-allied forces have been supplied in the Salahuddin campaign, and whether this is one of the factors for the Battle of Tikrit devolving into a siege.

Ken Roberts

The "realist" premise in 2008 election was "get the adults (=Obama-team) back in charge". One has to ask, where are the adults? When do they come on stage? All we seem to see, is boys with toys. The only adult I see around is Putin, who thus far has kept his finger off commit-button despite lots of unruly kids throwing sand around the playground. If we are going to give Nobel peace prizes for doing nothing, the man definitely deserves the next one up.

b

A different view on the situation from an Iraqi analyst
https://sjiyad.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/north-of-baghdad/

The casualties mentioned in U.S. media seem to be exaggerated.

Tikrit is surrounded but how tight the cordon is is hard to assess. The Iraqi army and the militia have pulled up rocket artillery and are shelling the city center.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgHtKqmT9cM

---

There is a massive anti-Shia campaign underway in U.S. media. ISIS is nearly lauded as the "good guys" while the Shia militia/Assad/Iran are now again "bad".

See the Petraeus interview yesterday and the WaPo main editorial today.

Also the Zionist lobby out in full force
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/assad-plays-america-the-fool-again-12458?page=show
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/01/how-iran-is-making-it-impossible-for-the-us-to-beat-isis.html

Haidar Sumeri has collected other anti-Shia voices including from the head of Human Rights Watch

https://medium.com/@SumerRising/anti-shiism-western-media-foreign-policy-islamic-state-and-blatant-lies-122cd5742afb

bth

Last week Kurds reported finding a tunnel 150 yards long being dug by IS underneath a house. I would imagine similar thoughts are occurring to the dead enders in Tikrit.

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