Saz wrote:Kane wrote:Tragic KingdomII wrote:This idea that ISIS is on the verge of getting out of Tikrit is based on a fantasy. That's just not the case. The shia militias and Iraqi government don't know what they're doing, and the notion that they will somehow be able to clear an urban area such as Tikrit in a couple of weeks is very optimistic, if not incredibly naive. Very little reliable news is making its way from the front lines. It's been mostly government boasting about villages surrounding city that they've cleared. They claimed about a week ago that the city was 72 hours from being liberated....now the operation is on hold.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/mid ... story.htmlNAJAF, Iraq — Iraqi forces’ operation to retake the city of Tikrit has stalled as troops suffer heavy casualties at the hands of Islamic State militants, raising concerns about whether the pro-government fighters are ready for major offensives.
After two days of little activity on the battlefield, Iraq’s interior minister, Mohammed al-Ghabban, confirmed Monday that the offensive has “temporarily stopped.” The steady flow of coffins arriving in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Najaf suggests a reason for the pause; cemetery workers say as many as 60 war dead have been arriving each day.
Tikrit is a city of 200k people, most of whom have already fled, and force 30,000 strong is having a hard time clearing 1,000 ISIS fighters. How on earth are they going to liberate Mosul, which is 10 times as populated as Tikrit?? And now that Iran is playing a larger role in Iraq, Sunnis are having to choose between the lesser of two evils. I doubt many will welcome a force backed by Iran.
ISIS has troops that live to fight.
These militias as well as the Iraqi army are fighting to live...and honestly, any notion of secularism or nationalism isn't heavily imbued within the shiite military groups. It's just going to be harder to find fighters willing to die for an area predominantly populated with Sunni. It doesn't make any sense along sectarian lines. Suppose they win back Tikrit? Then what, the Shiite occupy a city full of people that detest them? Not in an irrational manner either, as the Shiite militias and the Iraqi military were and continue to be heavily criticized for ostracizing Sunni from governance in general and power altogether under Maliki. When the Iraqi military occupied Mosul and Tikrit the theme was constant - rampant graft and corruption. No sense of any law and order derived from a secular body.
You have a very frothy situation where sectarian lines apparently matter more than whomever you vow your national allegiance to. This is why ISIS is such a threat - they're the only group willing to give the Sunni an outlet. And it's a loud one.
Let's be honest, the Shiite militias would wipe ISIS out relatively quickly if we let them conduct their operations as they want to (IE, ethnically cleanse the land they take). The long term viability of the US position here makes about as much sense as Japan's long term alliance with a white supremacist nation in WW2. It may be born out of current practical realities but the long term vision is obviously doomed to failure.
If the Shiite stared to do that they'd catalyze the largest response yet from the Sunni side. It would serve as a rallying cry. All that fragmentation among Sunni groups would disappear and the ramifications for the region would be extraordinary.