The Iraqi Air Force conducted an airstrike near Hajin, Syria, against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists operating near the Iraq-Syria border today, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said. 

In a statement announcing the action, officials said the strike was approved by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces.

The strike demonstrates Iraq’s commitment to destroy Islamic State remnants who continue to threaten its citizens, task force officials said, adding that the operation was planned and executed by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command with intelligence support from the coalition.

“This operation highlights the capabilities of Iraq’s armed forces to aggressively pursue [Islamic State] and to maintain their country’s internal security,” said US Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Robert B. Sofge, the task force’s deputy commanding general of operations.

“The strikes against ISIS gangs were conducted due to the risk posed by these gangs against Iraqi territory, and demonstrates the increased capabilities of our valiant armed forces in the pursuit and elimination of terrorism,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said in a statement.

“Our heroic forces and fighters, in their pursuit of terrorist gangs, saved many lives and thwarted ISIS plans, dismantling its terrorist death machine. These strikes will help speed up the elimination of these gangs in the region after we eliminated them in Iraq,” it added.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. It’s good news but it makes you wonder who the next terrorist group in the Middle East will be. It’s why I’m uneasy about the selling of arms to Iraqi forces, who’s to say they won’t use them against civilians. Assad should serve as a warning, just because a government is in charge, it doesn’t mean that it is a force of good.

    • It’s why I’m uneasy about the selling of arms to Iraqi forces,

      Funny you should mention that, I read this the other day:
      At the end of 2017 the U.S. withdrew American maintenance and repair technicians working for the Iraqi Army to maintain their force of nearly a hundred M1 tanks. The Americans also stopped supply spare parts of the Iraqi M1s and refused to restore this tech support until Iraq retrieved two M1s still unaccounted for and believed to be held by pro-Iranian PMF militias. The U.S. is also holding up delivery of additional M1s the Iraqis ordered. The Iraqi government had recently retrieved seven M1s from pro-Iranian militias and one was taken back with the help of U.S. backed Kurds who were attacked by militiamen in October 2017 when the Iraqi government took control of Kirkuk province, settling a dispute that went back over a decade. The Kurds withdrew from Kirkuk province but not before immobilizing an M1 tank used by one of the advancing militias.

      By December Iraq had retrieved all but two M1s and showed no enthusiasm for finding and retrieving the last two tanks because it would involve a confrontation with Iran and one the more militant pro-Iran Shia militias. At that point, the Americans invoked the sales contract Iraq had agreed to for the M1 tanks which allowed the U.S. to suspend support for the M1s if the Iraqis could not account for them at all times. The Iraqis are still looking for a way out of this mess. In March Iraq made the militias (the PMF, Peoples Mobilization Forces) part of the Iraqi military which apparently enables the government to put more pressure on the pro-Iran PMF units, which are believed to hold the two M1 tanks, to surrender them or else. The “or else” includes all the Iraqi M1s becoming inoperable eventually and additional American sanctions imposed that could include the growing Iraqi force of F-16 jet fighters and other American made weapons. That gambit has not worked as the militias insist that they still retain a degree of autonomy despite now being part of the military. This mess had its origins in the mid-2014 ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) offensive that captured about a third of Iraqi territory, including the city of Mosul. The Iraqi forces that were in the way largely collapsed and fled, abandoning hundreds of armored vehicles, Corruption in the Iraqi Army led, before 2014, to Iraqi M1 crews being poorly trained and led. Thus during the 2014 rout Iraqi troops lost (or abandoned) at least 40 M-s to enemy action or panic. At least one Iraqi M1 was destroyed by a Russian ATGM (anti-tank guided missile). The United States directed air strikes to destroy any M-1s spotted in the possession of ISIL. By 2015 it became obvious that some of the missing M1s had been recovered by PMF units that Iran helped organize in late 2014. The PMF played a key role in halting the ISIL offensive and then pushing back ISIL until all the lost territory was regained by the end of 2017. The U.S. documented at least nine M1s that had apparently been retrieved by pro-Iran PMF units from ISIL and, instead of turning them over to the Iraqi Army, continued to operate them. Some maintenance support was obtained, illegally, for these M1s from the Iraqi Army but repairs for major problems had to be performed at an Iraqi Army facility where American technicians carried out more complex work or shipped tanks back to the United States for a major overhaul. The Americans there noted evidence that some of these tanks had been in the possession of PMF units when they became inoperable.

      Currently, ten of these U.S. technicians remain in Iraq, mainly to keep an eye on (but not repair) several dozen Iraqi M1s awaiting repairs. These M1s are also watched by American security personnel.

      https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htarm/articles/20180411.aspx

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