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 The US military continues to refer to Islamic State as ISIL, the outdated acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Syria).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.
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