US continues to insist airstrikes support Iraqi forces, not Shiite militias

Aircraft assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve strike an Islamic State-held bridge in Tikrit.
Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the US-led Coalition that is launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, announced that it conducted 17 strikes against Islamic State fighters entrenched in Tikrit. US commanders continue to insist that they are supporting Iraqi security forces, and not the Iranian-backed Shiite militias who make up more than two-thirds of the fighting force in the Tikrit offensive.

The 17 airstrikes targeted “an ISIL [Islamic State] building, two ISIL bridges, three ISIL checkpoints, two ISIL staging areas, two ISIL berms, an ISIL roadblock and an ISIL controlled command and control facility,” according to a press release. The US military continues to refer to Islamic State as ISIL, the outdated acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Syria).

The airstrikes launched “in support of Iraqi Security Forces in Tikrit commenced last night after a request from the Government of Iraq,” CJTF-OIR stated. The 17 targets hit in the last 24 hours were “approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.”

US military officials have previously said that support for the Tikrit offensive was being withheld because of the massive presence of the Iranian-backed militias and Iranian military units and advisers.

Despite this previous acknowledgment, Lieutenant General James Terry, the commander of CJTF-OIR, skips over the presence of Shiite militias in the Tikrit operation [emphasis mine] in the latest statement.

“The ongoing Iraqi and Coalition air strikes are setting the conditions for offensive action to be conducted by Iraqi forces currently surrounding Tikrit,” said Lt. Gen. James Terry. “Iraqi Security Forces supported by the Coalition will continue to gain territory from Daesh [a vaguely pejorative Arabic acronym for the Islamic State].”

Pretending that US airpower isn’t supporting the Iranian-backed Shiite militias obviously doesn’t make it so.

US military officials’ denials that they are serving as the air force for Iranian-backed Shiite militias that are responsible for killing hundreds of American soldiers before US forces withdrew from Iraq in December 2011 becomes even more perplexing once you understand that many of the top leaders of these militias have been designated by the US as terrorists. And one of these militias (Hezbollah Brigades) is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. [See LWJ report, US begins airstrikes against Islamic State in Tikrit, supports Shiite militias.]

US government officials and top military commanders are so eager to destroy the Islamic State that they are crawling into bed with the flip side of the jihadist coin: the fanatical Shiite militias backed by Iran that are terrorist organizations and ultimate destabilizers of Iraq in their own right.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • m3fd2002 says:

    Amen. The whole arena has become a circus. Let’s see: Encouraging a rebellion then backing out (Bay of Pigs II), bombing the resultant Sunni insurgents (the flavor of the month doesn’t matter, they are just trying to stay alive) in Iraq/Syria, providing logistics support for Sunni forces bombing Shia rebels in Yemen, publically bickering with the elected (landslide, I might add) government in Israel, totally ignoring the Sisi regime in Egypt, Turkey is a lost cause on their own merit, providing air support for communist elements in Syria (PKK/YPF), providing air support for Mehdi Army in Iraq, abandoning Afghanistan, leaving Libya to fester, negotiating with Iran, who without any doubt has been actively supporting numerous antagonistic elements in theater, and OOH!, last but not least: Actively trying to undermine a political party of a historical allied country during an election cycle. It isn’t going to stop. This Administration is so over their heads it’s comical. I truly hope that they do not miss-calculate in Ukraine. That could have very serious implications. WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES.

  • mike merlo says:

    beyond pathetic. DOD & US Government Propaganda & lies are disgustingly insulting

  • m3fd2002 says:

    “The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region,” the official said.

    Yeah right. It will open the whole region to a nuclear arms race, with a significant chance the zealots would use them. This brings the whole concept of “pre-emptive nuclear strikes” into play for some players in theater. Sounds a bit convoluted, but the logic is there.

  • Lori says:

    I heard someone else say this so it’s not mine but … we seem to be fighting a proxy war against ourselves.

  • mike merlo says:

    “convoluted logic,” kinda like the US Government holding an unscheduled exercise involving a lot of people of consequence & expertise focused primarily on the Southwest of the USA. Makes me wonder if this little ‘soiree’ is a “pre-emptive” action targeting a person and or people of ‘interest.’


Islamic state



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