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Islamic State: In Iraqi battle for Tikrit, signs of Iran's expanding role

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US officials worry that Iran's major role in the fight against IS in Iraq could fuel Shiite-Sunni tensions and drive more Sunni Arabs into the arms of the jihadis.

The Iranian military is reportedly playing a significant role in Iraq’s latest push to retake the city of Tikrit from the self-described Islamic State.

Unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal that Iran is supplying artillery, rockets, and aerial drones for the offensive. A commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards is also taking part.

Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, is helping Iraqi forces in the assault on Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. The BBC reports that Gen. Soleimani has emerged as a chief tactician in Iraq's fight against IS. Since IS advanced across Iraq last summer, he’s personally overseen the defense of Baghdad and helped to organize pro-Iranian Shiite militias.

This isn’t the first time Iran has assisted Iraq in its fight against IS. It previously carried out airstrikes within the country and sent advisers to help retake a Sunni town outside Baghdad. But, according to US officials, the Tikrit fight represents the greatest level of support yet for an Iraqi offensive.



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The Pentagon has been worried about this for a while too..

WASHINGTON — Iran's military is playing a significant role in helping Iraq drive the Islamic State from Saddam Hussein's hometown, raising U.S. concerns about growing Iranian influence and increased sectarian tensions in Iraq.

Iran provides artillery and other support for a military offensive in Tikrit, according to a senior U.S. military official. He did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak publicly about Iran's role.

The United States conducts airstrikes daily in Iraq and Syria and has provided Iraq's military with ammunition and weapons to fight the Islamic State. Iraq did not ask for U.S. airstrikes to support the Tikrit operation, said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

The United States has long been worried about Iran's sway over Iraq, since both countries have Shiite majorities. It fears a rekindling of violence between Iraq's Shiites and Sunnis.

Edited by JohnR!



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Who cares what the world thinks? Hasn't helped Obama one bit.

Totally besides the point. The invasion of Iraq was illegal. It was every bit as illegal as Iraq's invasion of Kuwait a decade earlier. The only reason why Iraq was labeled a rogue nation and faced consequences while the US and UK did not is because the latter two are permanent members of the UN Security council. Russia is riding that same wave now in regards to Ukraine. Bush made a mess out of the region and that mess will be around for decades to come.

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On the world stage, there was no legal justification for the invasion. And it was no Obama that did it.

I knew George W. Bush never existed and was really Obama in disguise. Now that imposter is serving his 4th term in office and I bet he runs disguised as Hilary Clinton next election! Sneaky Kenyan SOB! Edited by ready4ONE

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