Friday, March 27, 2015

Iranian Officials ‘Fuming’ over Iraq-U.S. Partnership at Battle of Tikrit - Report

Fox News, citing a senior U.S. intelligence official, said today that the Iranian officials are “fuming” over Iraq joining forces with the U.S. in the fight for Tikrit.

“They are really pissed that Iraq is choosing to partner with the U.S. in the battle for Tikrit,” the official said. (Fox News, 27 March)

Iran-led Shia militia groups Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) and Kataib Hezbollah (KH) have already withdrawn from the fight, protesting U.S. airstrikes. Fox News, citing the official, said Iran has ordered other Shia militia groups, including Badr Organization, out of the area, and in some cases out of Iraq.

“They will probably send them to Yemen,” said the official.

It was not clear whether Iran has also pulled out its own advisers, operators and military equipment from Tikrit area. Before the U.S. involvement, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, aided by senior Quds Force officers, was personally in command of the operations in Tikrit and Iran had deployed sizable military equipment, such as artillery, to the theater.  

File photo: Iraqi security forces prepare to attack ISIL positions in Tikrit; 26 March 2015 (AP/Fox News)


Mark Pyruz said...

Fox News!

The Iran-led coalition has stood-down. Now, if the U.S.-led coalition and those elements of the Iraqi Army can take Tikrit, that will certainly be a good thing. That said, it has to be recognized that the burden has now shifted.

Bear in mind, should the Abadi government not be able to deliver this battlefield victory, others such as Maliki remain in the wings.

Really, the "change-up" at the last minute is one of the oldest tricks in the book, during a lengthy negotiation process, and we shouldn't expect the Iranians to be unaware of such. During the entire nuclear negotiations process, Khamenei has been expressing such an expectation. In step, so has the IRGC and the conservative IRIG establishment.

I have to say, as an objective observer, I'm struck by the pendulum of short-sighted triumphalism from both sides.

Anonymous said...

US and Iraqi coalition have long way to go, winning one battle does not mean winning the war. In addition as president Assad of Syria said yesterday one should be suspicious that coalition forces led by US are genuine about fighting ISIL. He said small Syrian air force conducting more daily operations against ISIL than coalition air forces combined. US basket in this matter is not a reliable one which Iraqi government has decided to put its eggs in. On the other hand Saudi and Egyptian navy have surrounded Bab Al Mandab getting ready for the invasion of Yemen therefore transferring Shia militias from Tikrit to Yemen might be an option here.

interested party said...

Fox News! Sadly this thing cannot be ignored. Fox is to Republican nut jobs as RT is for Putin. Except Putin is truly guarding his countries borders. Where as FOX is the mouthpiece of those who mean to maintain the status quo. That being, western Hegemony through American military might, over the worlds financial, technological and resource markets. A Uni polar world in 2000 and through 2100 and beyond is Fox news ideology! I'm with you Mark Pyruz, the triumphalism is apalling. However, in the context of the nuclear negotiations, Syria, Iraq, YEMEN!! Palestine, Bibi and Barack. this posturing around Tikrit makes perfect sense really. Its Saddam town. A Sunni town. If American Bombs help the cause of those dying on the ground to liberate Tikrit then let the President say it out loud who it is on the ground they fight alongside! Strangely GCC airforces nowhere to be seen over Tikrit.

Nader Uskowi said...

Mark, do you believe that Fox News could not possibly have access to intelligence sources? Anyway, the message is what's important and not the messenger. You and I often use reports from Fars News Agency too!

Gen. Soleimeni was the architect and commander of the Battle of Tikrit. KH and AAH are two of the most important Iranian-created and -led Shia militia groups, with more than a decade of service under Soleimani, from post-2003 Iraq, to Syria, and now back to Iraq. They would not have withdrawn from such a major battle without Iranian approval, or more likely a direct order from Iran, after all Soleimani was commanding the operation. Withdrawal from such an important battle is a serious act. They do that only under extreme conditions. So it would be natural to accept the main point of the report that the Iranians were very angry at the turn of events. It is also a logical assumption that the Quds Force has also pulled out its personnel and equipment from the battle.

The withdrawal of Shia militias/Quds Force from Tikrit is the most important development since Iran began its involvement against ISIL back in the summer 2014. If the decision is not reversed in the next few days, the move will have the most profound effects on Iranian-Iraqi relations and the future of war with ISIL.

Anonymous said...

this is a major development and evidence that Iran has suffered another setback in their ambitions to control much of the Arab states of the Middle East.

on top of the rebuff in Iraq, they are losing in Syria and now the Arabs are gathering themselves to push the Houthis out of Sanaa

Nader Uskowi said...

Strange comment! This post was not about Fox News, and your diatribe against that network should be posted on their website. This post was about information presented by an intelligence source that was carried by Fox, which I believe deserved attention, that the Iranian officials are very angry about the turn of events in Tikrit. It makes sense.

After investing so much in the Battle of Tikrit, personnel, materiel and prestige wise, and with Gen. Soleimani serving as the architect and hands-on commander, even taking photos at the frontline, with so many senior Quds Force officers acting as advisers, and Iran deploying operatives and heavy armaments in the battle, the Iranians should put themselves in a position to withdraw their militia and presumably their own forces and equipment from the battle at its most critical junction. This is the real story, not Fox, which probably needs our attention.

Nader Uskowi said...

Transferring Shia militias to hotspots has indeed become part and parcel of Iranian strategy, along with sending Quds Force advisers, heavy armaments, and in case of Syria and Yemen lots of cash and other financial assistance, like oil.

So I agree with you that they might follow the same strategy in Yemen and deploy the militias. The question is, would that be a wise move in the long run? My answer is an unqualified NO. The insertion of foreign Shia militias in Yemen at this critical juncture would only add to sectarian tensions in the country, and with Huthis controlling the major cities, backed by Iran, it will get the character, and indeed the reality, of a religious war. Iran should not, and hope it would not, follow that strategy. It already has been identified as a sectarian force in Iraqi and Syrian conflicts, it does not need to add Yemen to that portfolio. By doing so, it will unite the Sunni world against the Islamic Republic in a manner that we have not witnessed in a long while. By my last count, Sunnis outnumber Shias by 9 to 1, this is not a fight Iran needs to pick. These are extremely dangerous times for Iran and indeed the whole Middle East region.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a fight between Shia and Sunni or between Iran and Sunni countries .The focus should be on those takfiri terrorists who are threatening every non-Sunni community with extermination , in the region and elsewhere .Takfiris such as ISIL are a threat that need to be stamped out before addressing the regional rivalries .Hardly any government in middle east is totally immune from an ISIL type threat ,so why haven't we seen the emergence of a more coherent anti-terrorist /anti-ISIL effort .?One contributing factor that immediately comes to mind is the stumbling block that is the very nature of Iran's revolutionary-theocratic political posture . Assistance .provided by Iran, has turned out to be a very mixed blessing for the Shias thus far . Along with financial and military aid from Iran , the Shias are also getting a toxic revolutionary ideology that radicalizes their politics and makes it more difficult for the outside world to embrace their fight against takfiri terrorists .Simply put ,the international community shouldn't have to choose between the lesser of two evils in this conflict .Iran can help itself and Shias at large a great deal by abandoning some of its mindless nonsensical revolutionary rhetoric and adopt a more conciliatory approach towards the U.S. and its allies such as Israel ..The irony is that by being a more rational player , Iran can play a more constructive and helpful role .And that's a rare occurrence in middle east .

Anonymous said...

well said, Nader.

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 6:21 PM,

What's happening in Yemen is increasingly becoming a conflict between the Huthis and their Iranian supporters, on one hand, and nearly all Sunni countries on the other hand, and that's the danger here, becoming a conflict between Sunnis and Shias and putting Iran against the Sunni World.

What you are referring to as Iran's revolutionary ideology actually manifests itself in Shia militancy. And that's the problem here. In any conflict (Syria, Iraq, Yemen), the Quds Force sends advisers and military equipment to non-state actors (Shia militias in Iraq and Syria and the Huthis in Yemen) to fight Sunni militants. Shia militants fighting Sunni militants. That's called sectarian conflict. ISIL is a threat to the region. Shia militias and the Huthis are also a threat to the region. Normalcy requires that their power and influence are checked.