Iraq Update – Depends On Who You Believe

ISIS truck column

The Iraqi Army is either locked in a stalemate in the battle for Tikrit and surrounding areas about 100 miles northwest of Baghdad, or (according to a claim by ISIS) has completely lost the city and Camp Speicher, a nearby military post and helicopter base.

Here’s the story according to The Long War Journal:

The Iraqi military made its first effort to retake Tikrit in late June, when it airlifted commandos into Tikrit University in an effort to gain a toehold north of the city. An advance on the city from the south was defeated. Then, on July 16, the Iraqi military launched Operation Decisive Sword. A large column of military and militia units entered southern Tikrit and thought they liberated the city, but as they celebrated they were ambushed with suicide bombers, IEDs, and conventional attacks. The Iraqi forces then withdrew from the city.

After the Iraqi military withdrew from southern Tikrit on July 16, the Islamic State immediately began its assault on Camp Speicher, as the base was the last remaining holdout of Iraqi forces near the city (Iraqi forces were withdrawn from Tikrit University sometime before the second offensive was launched).

The loss of Camp Speicher, and perhaps more importantly, the loss of the helicopters and its pilots if the Islamic State’s claims are true, is a serious blow to both the morale and the operational capabilities of the Iraqi military. The Iraqi military, which has failed to retake major cities and towns from the Islamic State and its allies, now may find it more difficult to support and defend the Bayji oil refinery just to the north, which has been largely resupplied by helicopters.

The Daily Beast cast doubt on the ISIS claim of victory in Tikrit:

On Friday, multiple news reports claimed that ISIS had won a major victory, seizing control of a vital army base outside of Tikrit and killing or capturing the hundreds of soldiers stationed there. If true, ISIS’s capture of Camp Speicher would signal a crucial turning point in the battle for the city and a humiliating setback for the Iraqi Army.

But the reports are false according to multiple Iraqi sources, who say Speicher was attacked on Friday but that ISIS never entered the base. According to an Iraqi Army soldier, who said he is currently stationed at the base: “Ten suicide bombers tried to blow themselves up at the gate so 15 more ISIS fighters in support could enter the base but we killed all of them. Only one Iraqi soldier was killed.”

Even if neither side is in control of Tikrit, the Iraqi government remains in deep serious trouble. A week ago The Long War Journal estimated that half of Iraq’s 15 army divisions have become ineffective or have completely disappeared.

  1. #1 by clear! on July 23, 2014 - 11:14 pm

    Whoever you believe our trillion is gone, the boys are dead, and Iraq will never be the same.

    The chumps we handed our mess over to will fall, there is nothing we have done in the Mideast that will stand the test of time..the wind will blow in the desert, and the sand will cover all…rather like Dune…

  2. #3 by clear! on July 24, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    And it ‘ain’t gonna be the USA. We can’t even control the mayhem in our backyard..

  3. #5 by Richard Warnick on August 5, 2014 - 12:07 pm

    Islamic State Militants Make Major Gains In Iraq

    Kurdish peshmerga fighters, who gained experience fighting Saddam Hussein’s troops, were regarded as one of the few forces capable of standing up to the Sunni insurgents, who faced almost no opposition from Maliki’s U.S.-trained army during their lightning advance through the north in June.

    Then on Sunday the Islamic State inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Kurds with a rapid advance through three towns to reach the Mosul Dam, acquiring a fifth oil field to fund its operations along the way.

    …The Kurdish region is pressing the Obama administration for sophisticated weapons it says Kurdish fighters need to push back the Islamic State fighters threatening their region. The requested supplies include tanks, sniper equipment, armored personnel carriers, artillery and ammunition.

  4. #6 by Anonymous on August 5, 2014 - 12:19 pm

    Game over..ISIS now sporting armor and arty. Taken from our clowns we armed. Welcome to the Laws of Unintended Consequences.

    A two star general got it in the neck today in Afghanistan, in a secured training area. Welcome to Parthia..try not to stay too long.

    As my Opa said, no matter how the enemy is armed, no matter how long it takes, no matter their numbers, if you are amoral or faking the moral imperative, your enemy will in time defeat you with a Spatzle. That is a German egg noodle. Defeat by wet noodle.

    It’s wet noodle time appears.

  5. #7 by Anonymous on August 5, 2014 - 12:21 pm

    They now also control the dam and the refinery.

    If they wish, they can wreck Baghdad by releasing the dams water suddenly. A trillion dollars and a million lives.

    We are all so goin to hell.

  6. #8 by clear! on August 5, 2014 - 12:22 pm

    They now also control the dam and the refinery.

    If they wish, they can wreck Baghdad by releasing the dams water suddenly. A trillion dollars and a million lives.

    We are all so goin to hell.

  7. #10 by Anonymous on August 20, 2014 - 1:16 pm

    Apparently they have lost the dam, it’s integrity however is now in question.

  8. #11 by Richard Warnick on September 3, 2014 - 11:26 am

    Human Rights Watch says ISIS carried out a mass-killing of 770 Iraqi soldiers when it overran Camp Speicher in June.

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