Iranian planes supported an Iraqi military operation to retake two villages from the Islamic State (ISF) in Diyala. In the middle of November Iraqi Security Forces, militias, and the peshmerga started a campaign to retake Jalawla and Sadiya in northeast Diyala, which was completed on November 23. During that period Al Jazeera filmed an Iranian F-4 Phantom jet flying over the area. According to an Iranian military expert, Tehran was carrying out air missions there from November 18-23 using F-5 and F-4 jets, and UAVs. The planes were said to be flying out of Kermanshah air base in Iran.COMMENTARY: Mr. Wing cites an article at Zawya.com in identifying Kermanshah as the airbase used by IRIAF for strikes against ISIL in northeast Diyala Governate.
The air facility at Kermanshah is Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani Airport (KSH / OICC). This facility maintains a civilian airport and Iran Army Aviation base for rotary wing aircraft. It is possible IRIAF is using this facility as a forward air base for combat missions in support of allied forces in Iraq.
Iran is providing training to Iraqi pilots on Su-25s, and MiG-23s and 29s at the Kermanshah air base. The Iraqi Air Force is undermanned and lacks fighter jets and trained pilots.COMMENTARY: Mr. Wing uses the same source at Zawya.com in providing these details. It should be pointed out that IRIAF and IRGC-AF do not possess Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 aircraft and would not be capable of providing training for this type. Moreover, the air facility at Kermanshah would not be ideal for the training of Iraqi pilots.
Were Iraqi pilots to be trained by IRGC-QF on Sukhoi Su-25 CAS aircraft, a much more suitable location would be the IRGC-AF fighter squadron base at Shiraz.
Likewise a more suitable IRIAF training base for the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 would be Tabriz/Shaheed Fakouri TAB-2, or Tehran/Mehrabad TAB-1.
These discrepancies serve to undermine related aspects of Mr. Wing’s piece.
In addition to the Al Jazeera segment, additional footage of IRIAF McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II fighter-bombers in action over Iraq has surfaced on social media. Below are video stills and the complete video segment posted 07DEC14 on YouTube:
Complete video segment depicting claimed IRIAF airstrike at at Sa'adiya, Iraq
Responding to a question, an IqAF pilot states he is ready to fly combat missions in defense of Iraq against ISIL. By the number of Arizona ANG F-16C/D aircraft visible at Tucson Air National Guard Base, it does appear these Iraqi pilots could potentially be provided with available F-16s for combat missions against ISIL, were a political decision be made in Washington. This in addition to the few F-16IQ aircraft now delivered to Tuscon ANGB, or in flight trials at NAS Forth Worth JRB.