Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meanwhile At the Edges of the Caliphate

Iraq is beginning an operation to relieve the ISIL siege of Amerli, which lies more than 50 miles east of Tikrit:

The drive to break the more than two-month siege of Amerli came as an NGO said that the IS jihadist group, which has surrounded the Shiite Turkmen-majority town, sold at least 27 women in Syria after kidnapping them in Iraq. ...

Iraqi security forces, thousands of Shiite militiamen and Kurdish peshmerga fighters are all taking part in the operation to lift the jihadist blockade of Amerli, sources said.

We are helping:

At the request of the Government of Iraq, the United States military today airdropped humanitarian aid to the town of Amirli, home to thousands of Shia Turkomen who have been cut off from receiving food, water, and medical supplies for two months by ISIL. The United States Air Force delivered this aid alongside aircraft from Australia, France and the United Kingdom who also dropped much needed supplies.

In conjunction with this airdrop, U.S. aircraft conducted coordinated airstrikes against nearby ISIL terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation.

It's the oddest war. We can't seem to bring ourselves to kill enemies unless we also drop food and water to nearby civilians in need and can portray the attacks as related to the aid.

Just a suggestion: killing murderous jihadis doesn't require MRE drops. Just put all the jihadis on the "kill list," okay?

No word on the earlier efforts by Iraq to capture Tikrit from the enemy. But at least Iraqis seem active on the central front north of Baghdad.

And nothing seems to be going on around Fallujah and Ramadi, which jihadis took in January. Hopefully deals to deal with the jihadis with local Sunni Arabs upset at jihadi madness are being hammered out.

UPDATE: Iraqi forces entered Amerli, breaking the siege:

The military offensive to free the town was preceded by U.S. airstrikes at Islamic State positions. U.S., U.K., Australian and as well Iraqi forces also dropped aid to the residents of the town. Col. Mustafa Hassan, the Amirli area commander, said by phone that clashes were still "continuing" with Islamic State gunmen.

The difference American air power can make for local ground allies (physically and psychologically) should not be under-estimated. This should be a lesson for Afghanistan as we leave our Afghan allies without fire support to fight the Taliban.

UPDATE: Word about Anbar:

In the western city of Ramadi, where Iraqi forces have been battling Sunni groups dominated by IS since January, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed Humvee military vehicle, according to two police officers and a medical official.

The blast, targeting an unfinished nine-floor building, killed 22 security personnel and 15 civilians, the medical and police officials said. The building, used by security personnel, was in the centre of Ramadi in western Anbar province.

The jihadis are active, anyway. No further word on the Re-Awakening.