Tikrit artillery barrages augmented with U.S. air strikes
The southwest section of Tikrit is a burning ruin. After a week of artillery the residences have been leveled and bombs left by the ISIS and allied Sunni fighters have been detonated. The area reportedly looks like Stalingrad during World War II.
Estimates from Al Sahra/COB Speicher put the shell count between 8,000 and 12,000 rounds. That's for field guns, not counting militia mortar units.
So of course what we get from corporate media today is a propaganda feed likely sourced from the Pentagon. This offense into the southwest of Tikrit and cleaning out villages has been sold again as a “United States led” offensive against ISIS. Choke on your morning oatmeal with that one. Here's the most recent play:
The Iraqi ground offensive to retake the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State group is set to begin Thursday, following the United States’ aerial bombardment over the city one day earlier, Iraqi military personnel said. It will be the largest anti-militant operation since the terrorist group declared its so-called caliphate in June, but it has been on pause for nearly a week as Iraqi leaders reassessed their military strategy.
U.S. warplanes launched airstrikes on Tikrit Wednesday afternoon at the request of the Iraqi government. This air campaign marks the first American contribution to the nearly three-week old operation and the closest the U.S. has come to cooperation with Iraq’s Shiite militias — some of the largest forces fighting the militant group also known as ISIS — many of which are trained, armed and funded by Iran.
We're looking at a real-world mop up operation. What had been at most 200 ISIS fighters/psychos doing a delaying action is reported locally as down to 50 to 70 in place. Their tactics ran to trying it as snipers and suicide bombers. The ISIS effort is finished in terms of offense.
Here General Suleimani again:
The volunteer groups' web sites have any number of pics of him up there near the front lines. Badr Peace Brigade, AAH and Sunni tribes all trumpet having Suleimani on their side. Keep in mind that his prime skills run to organization and logistics. The coalition have succeeded in annihilating ISIS forces in the villages and all but the last few dug-in assets of ISIS and allies in the city.
The much larger fight this past week centered in the area south of the Little Zeb River between Baiji and Kirkuk. 40 miles up toward Mosul. The coalition started pulling artillery out, relocating it north to help with that fight while the main bombardments were still underway at Tikrit.
If you're a connoisseur of superbly crappy war reporting, I've put a story from CNN below the fold…..