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article imageU.S. and Iran are allies in Iraq

By Ken Hanly     Jun 13, 2014 in World
Baghdad - While the U.S. and Iran usually disagree as on Iran's nuclear program and policy on Syria, on the issue of the (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) ISIL the two countries are allies.
Security sources in Iran report that two battalions from the Revolutionary Guard have now gone to Iraq in order to protect Shi'ite holy sites from the advancing ISIL forces and also to help defend the Iraqi capital Baghdad. There are even reports that some had taken part in the fighting in Tikrit that the ISIL now controls. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would not tolerate the terrorist group close to its borders and pledged aid to the embattled Iraqi government. Iran is already helping the Syrian government fight ISIL but other rebel groups as well.
The ISIL also has taken considerable territory in Syria where it has fought with other rebel groups. The ISIL has been disowned by Al Qaeda because it refused to obey an order to confine activities to Iraq and also refused to stop fighting other rebel groups in Syria including the Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra. ISIL tore down part of the earthen barrier that had served to mark the border of Iraq and Syria. The ISIL now controls territory on both sides and regards it as all one. Iraqi security forces at the same time withdrew from one of their last border positions, leaving even more of the border area under iSIL control.
During the capture of Mosul ISIL not only captured many weapons but apparently also seized assets that will enable it to finance its operations for some time:
During the battle of Mosul in June 2014, ISIS allegedly became the richest terror group in the world after looting $429 million USD from Mosul's central bank, according to the regional governor. A large quantity of gold bullion was also believed to have been stolen.[54] It will “buy a whole lot of Jihad,” regional analyst Brown Moses wrote on Twitter. “For example, with $429 million, ISIS could recruit and pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a month for a year."[55]
The Obama administration considers the ISIL advance a threat to US interests and is considering a number of options to stop the ISIL advance. However, Obama has ruled out putting any boots on the ground. According to a Guardian article:
Options under discussion include an air campaign, using either or both air force or navy warplanes, the potential duration of which has yet to be determined. Drone strikes remain under consideration, but manned aircraft are said to be the preferred option, owing to their superiority against moving and manoeuvrable targets. Representative Adam Kinzinger a military pilot who served in Iraq supported the idea of drone strikes and other air attacks on the Sunni jihadists. As Salon points out, some hawks want the US even more involved as suggested in a Wall Street Journal article which at the same time takes a swipe at Obama's policies;
The alternative is to stage an intervention similar to what the French did in Mali in early 2013, using a combination of air power and paratroops to defeat or at least contain ISIS. But that would be an admission that Mr. Obama’s policy in Iraq has failed, that his claims of retreat without risk from the Middle East were false and naive, and that his premature withdrawal now demands an emergency intervention. Obama had no choice but to withdraw from Iraq because the Iraqi government refused to accept the terms of a new Status of Forces Agreement drafted by the US.
More about Iraq violence, ISIL in Iraq, US Iraq relations
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